Iowa 2020

Goal

Flip a chamber

Chamber Makeup

State Senate

18 Democrats

52 Republicans

State House

46 Democrats

53 Republicans

Opportunity Assessment

Prior to the 2006 election, Iowa had one of the most evenly divided state legislatures in the country. Today, Iowa is a Republican trifecta. But in 2018, Democrats nearly took back the House, signaling a clear path to flipping one or both chambers of the legislature.

The Stakes

The current  majority has governed with one constituency in mind: itself. Efforts to ensure all Iowans have a fair chance at work, at home and at school, take a back seat to Republican power grabs.

  • Blocked 29 absentee ballots from being counted in a State House race that was “won” by a nine vote margin—and proposed a bill that would make it harder for absentee ballots to be counted in the future.

  • Worked to eliminate early voting locations on state universities.

  • Thwarted efforts to guarantee clean drinking water for all Iowans.

  • Worked to undermine efforts to advance equal pay for equal work.

2020 Political Landscape

  • In 2020, the entire State House and half of the State Senate are up for election.  Democrats need to flip three of 53 Republican seats in the House or seven of the 19 Republican seats up for election in the Senate to break GOP control of the state.

  • While Iowa trended toward Republicans in 2016, Democrats bounced back in 2018 and are poised to target the state with national resources again in 2020.

  • In 2018:

    • Democrats came close to winning back the State House; 300 votes across four seats would have broken the Republican majority (and a subsequent party switch would have then delivered them an outright majority in the chamber).  

    • Democrats won a number of statewide races, including Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, who carried 24 Republican-held State House seats and 13 State Senate seats that will be up in 2020.

    • Democrats held their ground in the State Senate—the cohort of seats up in 2018 had far fewer opportunities for growth than the cycle coming up.  Also, these state senators have not had to face a post-Trump electorate so there is plenty of meat on the bone here.