Female Dems dominate in two competitive Iowa House races

Female Dems dominate in two competitive Iowa House races
© Abby Finkenauer

Two female Democratic candidates cruised to victory in their respective House primaries in Iowa as women continue to dominate in high-profile primary battles across the country.

Both women will be looking to break into Iowa’s all-male congressional delegation in November. Iowa has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress.


In Iowa’s 1st District, state Rep. Abby Finkenauer trounced her three opponents in the Democratic primary with more than 70 percent of the vote. Finkenauer was heavily favored to win the primary and is the preferred candidate of national Democrats.

She’ll now go on to face GOP Rep. Rod Blum, who has been a top target for Democrats. President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE won Blum’s district by a little more than 3 percentage points in 2016.

If Finkenauer, 28, wins in November, she’d be the youngest woman elected to Congress.

Meanwhile, in the 3rd District, businesswoman Cindy Axne easily won her primary against two male opponents, with more than 57 percent of the vote. She defeated businessman Eddie Mauro and Pete D’Alessandro, who ran Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE’s (I-Vt.) caucus campaign in the state during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

Axne will square off against GOP Rep. David YoungDavid Edmund YoungFirst-term Democrat presses for coronavirus relief agreement this year Axne wins reelection in Iowa Democrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll MORE. Trump also won Young’s district by 3 points.

Blum’s race is rated a "toss-up" by nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report, while Young’s seat is considered "lean Republican." But both races are viewed as top seats that could help Democrats flip the 23 seats needed to take back the House in the fall.

Finkenauer and Axne’s primary victories are another sign that 2018 is shaping up to be a major year for Democratic women. Female candidates running in other Tuesday primaries also fared well, including in New Mexico and New Jersey.