Iowa hasn’t been this red in over three decades, and now the fallout is settling over the state. In an Election Day shocker, Republicans seized control of both houses of the Iowa Legislature, long serving Democrats were ousted, and 93 counties were won by now President-elect Donald Trump.
As of 5:45 PM, with 99% of precincts reporting, Trump had taken 52% of the vote to Clinton’s 42%. Libertarian Gary Johnson managed to nab 4%, late entering conservative Evan McMullin and Green Party candidate, Jill Stein received .8% of the vote each.
Progressive Caucus champion, Kim Weaver, was unable to defeat Steve King in a hard fight to win over voters in the traditionally Republican congressional district. She had only managed 38% of the vote. Her campaign, however, had won over the hearts of Progressives from the Missouri to the Mississippi, as she had a flood of support from other congressional districts.
Other Progressives throughout the state unfortunately fared no better, though each candidate had worked tireless campaigns. The efforts were simply not enough to overcome their opponents. Brent Oleson was, however, able to pull off the hard fought victory and retain his seat on the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
Several Republicans incumbents went uncontested this election cycle. This set a solid foundation for the Republicans to steal away the majority in Iowa Legislature. Caught up in this shift of power; long time state senator and majority leader Mike Gronstal. Gronstal lost his his seat to his Republican challenger in a stunning upset.
Progressive did have some reason to celebrate, however, as the three remaining Justices that were involved in the landmark Varnum v Brien case successfully retained their seats. Given the Republican success of yesterday, one could assume that this would signify a waning of support for the anti-marriage group The Family Leader, and their founder, Bob Vander Plaats.
In a statement to the Progressive Caucus, Chair Jason Frerichs said that last night was evidence that “the party must evolve”.
Frerichs pledged to do all he could to drive the much needed change in the party, and encouraged Iowa Progressives to join him.
“Next Monday the real work begins in fixing our party.” Frerichs said.
Editor’s note: Shortly after polls closed in Iowa, and results started to come in, there were many who pondered how this could have happened. Fingers started to point towards third party groups, write in groups, Progressives, Centrists, and Blue Dogs.
Where the blame may ultimately lie, is unimportant. None of this changes the fact that the IDP and the DNC are currently in shambles. What is important is where we, as Progressives, go from here. The die has been cast. There is only one way to go and that is forward.
While there are tears and anger, there is also resolve. And through the groans of mourning, rises an ever increasing call to get back up, regroup, and start fighting again. Great people are forged in fire. We will get through this, and be stronger for it.
So today, we shall mourn our defeat. Tomorrow we set our sights on 2018 and continue to work for a future we can all believe in.
If you would like to get involved visit the IDP Progressive Caucus Page