Welcome to my diary series titled “Majority Savers”! I will run a new article every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for “Majority Savers” as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
There is a definite twang in the air and the smell of corn being fed to hogs. I travel to the Midwest and farm country today to highlight one of our most endangered incumbents, Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd district! Saving her House seat may prove pivotal in saving us from Speaker McCarthy, or worse, Speaker Jim Jordan!
This isn’t meant to be a full biography of Axne, which can be found here. Instead, this is intended to highlight positive attributes that make her a good fit for Iowa’s 3rd district.
- Given that this district covers a lot of farming territory, it is important to note that she was active in 4-H in high school. While not as directly related to farming as FFA, 4-H tends to attract those who wish to be leaders in more rural and farm based communities.
- Her college education includes a journalism degree from the University of Iowa and more critically and MBA from Northwestern University in Chicago. Her experiences as a businesswoman have definitely molded her to find common sense and efficient solutions for all of Iowa.
- She worked in service delivery for a combined 20 different state agencies in the executive branch in Iowa. She used her background to recommend needed changes and to increase productivity and efficiency in her position.
Rep. Cindy Axne has a DW Nominate score of -0.245, which indicates a moderate record. She is more liberal than 55% of the combined membership of the House, and at the same time she is more conservative than 88% of her fellow members of the Democratic House caucus. She is ideologically about where she needs to be in order to survive on such marginal turf.
She is a ‘MORE Democrat”, and we need to recognize and support her even if she isn’t the most progressive member of our coalition. She represents a district won by TFG, which means she needs to vote against some measures that may be popular on this site. We cannot afford to lose too many members of our coalition — if we lose a net of 5 seats, power goes to the Republicans, and NO ONE HERE SHOULD WANT THAT. Besides, she votes with us most of the time anyways! Look at these signature issues below!
Health Care: She supports an expansion of the ACA through a public option, as well as making sure that there is cost containment on prescription drugs. She also firmly supports the right to choose on abortion and is supportive of women’s health care.
Education: Before she even considered a run for Congress, she was very active in her home school district in pushing for all-day kindergarten because her son did not have that option available. She is a proponent of strengthening our public schools and promoting trade school and vocational programs. There will be a huge shortage of trades workers once my dad’s generation finally retires.
Climate Change: Unlike a lot of farm districts that elect Republicans now and pretend it isn’t happening while it grows harder to raise their crops, Axne fully endorses the fact that climate change exists and is impacting farm communities. Some of her solutions (such as biodiesel and ethanol) are required for her to support despite being bad due to the nature of the district, but she is a big proponent of clean energy and especially wind power.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: TFG (R-inc) 49.2%, Joe Biden (D) 48.8% (about a 1500 vote difference)
2020 House: Cindy Axne (D-inc) 48.9%, David Young (R) 47.6%
2022 Race Rating: Tossup
2022 PVI: R+3
This district has had Des Moines as an anchor for a couple of decades now. What counties are included (county splits are forbidden by the Iowa Constitution) vary depending upon population and the need to create competitive districts. The 3rd district is a classic swing seat that both parties have held in recent times.
Iowa has seen their Congressional clout whittle away over the decades as other states grow at a much faster pace than this languid state of corn and hogs. After 2010 redistricting caused Iowa to shed yet another seat, a Democratic incumbent was pitted against a Republican incumbent. In spite of Obama winning the state and the district, the Republican incumbent won comfortably.
The GOP would hold this seat for much of the decade, buoyed by the fact that TFG easily won Iowa and narrowly won this district in 2016. The blue wave of 2018 was a different matter altogether, and Rep. Cindy Axne used it to narrowly eke out a 49-47 win over the incumbent. As you can see above, TFG narrowly won again in 2020 along with Axne. As a Trump district Democratic incumbent, that makes her particularly vulnerable in 2022!
Political Tour of the District
For this decade, we lucked out in that the district includes a county trending towards us, which could offset the many areas trending away from us in this district. The Des Moines metro area, which is what passes for a large city in Iowa, is still included in the district and is still the anchor for the entire seat. Many of the other counties in southern Iowa are rural and have much lower populations. These areas have been shedding population for decades as farm country increasingly becomes consolidated by agribusiness.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 3rd district.
- Des Moines: This is the golden goose for Democratic votes in the entire district. Axne has to run up the score in the capital city while keeping down the margins elsewhere in Polk County to have any chance of winning. She is from the suburb of West Des Moines, so this is her home turf.
- Dallas County: Axne will NOT win this county in her re-election bid. However, it is important that she match Biden’s vote total and percentage total in a county trending in our direction. Without a good showing in Dallas County, Axne will be shown the exit by her challenger.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Farm Country: The rest of the district has turned toxic for Democratic nominees very quickly. Some of these counties were ones that Obama won in 2008 and/or 2012, only for Biden to average around 30% in the counties in 2020. Axne is going to be blown out in these rural farm counties, but she needs to stick to around 30% in order to have a chance of winning again.
Activism — Help How You Can!
In Quarter 1, Rep. Axne raised $765k, which is quite a bit for a cheap district to advertise and spend in such as this one. Her challengers combined raised around $500k, which is surprisingly low for such an easy district for the GOP to win (hypothetically speaking). As long as Axne continues to outraise her opponents, she has a chance of holding on, even in a district that is at the front line of falling.
After Quarter 1, Axne has a very healthy $2.56 MILLION cash on hand, which will go far in the Omaha and Des Moines media markets. Her competitors still have a primary election to settle, which means they will have to drain their coffers while Axne quietly raises more money. Unfortunately, a torrent of dark money will easily fill in the gaps. She doesn’t need our money right now, but that could change in the future. I am including a link to her ActBlue page just in case you wish to donate.
DONATE TO REP. CINDY AXNE HERE
If social media is your specialty, you can follow Cindy Axne on Twitter to help her get her message out. She has 16.5K followers on the bird app, which is a respectable amount for a sophomore incumbent. As the last Iowan Democratic member of Congress standing, she kind of heads the party as well.
You can also follow her on Facebook at CindyAxneForCongress, as well as on Instagram at axne4congress.
Finally, I am posting her campaign website, https://cindyaxneforcongress.com/, as it is the best way currently to reach out and contact her campaign about volunteer opportunities or events.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our incumbent for the Iowa 3rd district seat, Rep. Cindy Axne! Hopefully this diary inspires you to help her in some way! It is definitely a difficult race to win, but with everything on the line now we cannot afford to ignore any truly competitive House race. Saving her may keep Speaker Pelosi in control of the House for another term!