Republicans got a big boost in Iowa on Tuesday night as conservative Republican Jon Dunwell, a pastor and financial services representative, handily won a historically Democratic seat in the state House of Representatives.
The stunning victory has stirred speculation that Iowa, long considered a truly marginal state, may be headed toward the status of solidly Republican next year and in 2024.
With nearly all the ballots counted, Dunwell rolled up 60% of the vote over Newton City Councilman Steve Mullan, a Democrat.
The outcome of the special election drew attention throughout and beyond the Hawkeye State because of the unbroken Democratic representation of the 29th District (Jasper County) for the past 40 years.
The special election resulted from the resignation of Democratic state Rep. Wes Breckenridge, who took a job at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
”The Iowa Democrat Party is dazed, confused and suffering major depression,” former Polk County (Des Moines) GOP Chairman Kim Schmett told The Conservative Digest. ”Incredibly, it did not spend any money defending the open seat, which had been Democrat-controlled for at least 40 years.”
Schmett also noted that this was the second special election lost by the Democrats in the past four weeks. Republicans now control a 60-40 split in the state House of Representatives, while their state Senate counterparts have an even more impressive 32-18 majority.
”They are hoping the redistricting process will help their recovery to relevance, but are also facing a redistricting process where they lack any significant ability to influence the outcome,” he added.
As further evidence of the state’s increasing Republican coloration, Schmett pointed to the fact that,so far, no significant challenger has announced they will run against either Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley or Gov. Kim Reynolds.
”All this can change, but right now it’s looking like a long, difficult uphill journey for them to regain competitiveness in the near future,” he said.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for The Conservative Digest. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.