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Stories about Iowa

Michael L. Fitzgerald and Roby Smith running for Iowa treasurer on Nov. 8

Incumbent Michael L. Fitzgerald (D) and Roby Smith (R) are running for Iowa treasurer on Nov. 8, 2022.

Fitzgerald has served as Iowa treasurer of state since 1983. Before taking office, Fitzgerald worked as a marketing analyst for Massey Ferguson Company. Fitzgerald said, “In times like today, there is no question that experience counts. Through my leadership, I will continue to promote fair government and safe financial strategies.”

Smith has represented Iowa Senate District 47 since 2011. Smith also worked as a banker and small business owner. According to his campaign website, Smith has “never missed a single vote from the floor of the Iowa Senate in eleven years” and “will bring that same dedication and work ethic to the State Treasurer’s office, where he will show up every day ready to work for Iowa’s taxpayers.”

The Iowa Capital Dispatch‘s Kate Kealy said, “If elected as state treasurer, former Republican state Sen. Roby Smith would use the position to prevent federal overreach and ensure Iowa tax dollars don’t aid terrorist organizations, his campaign states. Democratic incumbent Michael Fitzgerald said he hopes to continue building on programs he implemented during his time as the longest-serving state treasurer in the nation.”

Fitzgerald said Iowa should establish a state retirement program for Iowans with no retirement plans through their employer and said the state should protect state pension funds. “With half the people in Iowa approaching retirement age with no pension or retirement benefits, I think it’s a serious problem,” Fitzgerald said. In September 2022, Fitzgerald also announced a $10 million investment in Israel Bonds through the Development Corporation for Israel.

Smith emphasized financial privacy, saying, “Iowa needs a treasurer who understands the challenges of the 21st century and is willing to protect Iowans from a Biden administration that is determined to invade our financial privacy.” Smith also highlighted his support of tax reforms and financial literacy programs while a member of the Iowa Senate.

In the 2018 election, Fitzgerald defeated Jeremy Davis (R) with 55%-43%.

The Iowa treasurer is the state’s chief financial officer. The treasurer is elected to serve a four-year term concurrent with the governor’s term. The Iowa Treasurer’s Office maintains state funds and acts as the state’s bank. The main duties of the office include receiving and distributing state funds, investing state money, maintaining state accounts, and coordinating financial planning.



Incumbent Rob Sand and Todd Halbur running for Iowa state auditor on Nov. 8

Incumbent Rob Sand (D) and Todd Halbur (R) are running for Iowa state auditor on Nov. 8, 2022.

Sand has been the Iowa auditor of state since 2019. Sand also served as assistant attorney general under Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D). On his campaign website, Sand said he has been non-partisan as auditor: “[Sand] defends the other party from unfair or untruthful attacks, while also criticizing his own party even when he doesn’t have to.” Sand also highlighted his record as auditor, saying he “has identified more waste, fraud, and abuse than any other single term from any other State Auditor.”

Halbur’s professional experience includes working in the banking and finance industry and as a real estate agent. He was also the former CFO of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. Halbur said he is “a fiscal conservative focused on protecting Iowa’s Taxpayer dollars by following the rule of law instead of being a politician. I will operate the Auditor’s office with integrity, accountability and openness.” Halbur emphasized his professional background, saying, “Iowa needs an Auditor with the financial background and qualifications I have from my previous positions in the banking industry and as a CFO.”

The Iowa Capital Dispatch‘s Kate Kealey described the race as follows: “In the race for state auditor, Democratic incumbent Rob Sand promises voters he will remain committed to serving as the taxpayers’ watchdog, while Republican opponent Todd Halbur believes the job should be separate from partisan disputes.”

In the 2018 election, Sand defeated incumbent Mary Mosiman (R) 51%-46%. Before Sand’s election, Iowa had had a Republican state auditor since 1939.

The auditor is responsible for audits of counties, cities, school districts, and other governmental offices and is required to provide guidelines to CPA firms performing such audits.



All candidates for Iowa Secretary of State complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Iowa Secretary of State —incumbent Paul Pate (R) and Joel Miller (D) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

This is one of 27 secretary of state seats on the ballot in 2022. Iowa’s secretary of state serves as the state commissioner of elections, maintains corporations’ records, registers trademarks, commissions notaries public, and preserves original documents. Iowa is one of 26 states with a Republican secretary of state, and one of 9 states with a divided government triplex.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?        

Pate:           

“Continuing to protect the sanctity and security of Iowa’s elections are my top priorities. while increasing voter registration and participation. Iowa was recently named one of the top three states in the nation for election administration. I’d like us to be #1. We’ve made it easy to vote but hard to cheat. Under my watch, that will continue.

Under my watch, Iowa has set record highs for voter registration and participation multiple times. Iowa is a national leader in both. We implemented Iowa’s online voter registration system in 2016, making it faster and easier to register than ever. We also created the Safe at Home address confidentiality program, so survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, stalking and assault can vote without fear of their address becoming public.”

Miller:

“Make Voting Easy Again! But to do so, Iowans must #FirePaulPate. Why? 

  • 1> Pate pocket vetoed two proposed amendments to the Iowa Constitution by failing to publish them in official newspapers. Pate blamed the mistake on staff and fired a top appointee. Legislature took away Pate’s duty to publish amendments.
  •  2> Pate negligently inactivated 17-year-olds not eligible to vote in the November 2020 election. Pate blamed the Legislature for making the law. Legislature changed law to prohibit Pate from inactivating 17 year-olds in the future. 
  • 3> Pate silent on voter suppression contained in 2021 election law changes. No leadership. Did not register For/Against/Neutral on law during debate or after passage.”

Click here to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Iowa House of Representatives District 89 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Iowa House of Representatives District 89 —Elinor Levin (D) and Jacob Onken (R)— completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Iowa’s state legislature. Iowa is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?            

Kipp:       

“I focus on people rather than policy, but, of course I have my own strong opinions. I want to see strong public unions, amply funded-public schools, common sense gun laws, infrastructure to support reliable, high speed internet service and renewable energy across the state. I support farm programs that work towards healthy, long-term stewardship of the land and transparent access to health care, including mental, dental, and vision, for everyone.”

Onken:             

“Conservatives must take a proactive approach in defending our freedoms, sitting around and playing defense is not sufficient. Abortion has gone on for too long, our rights have been trampled throughout the Covid pandemic, and our tax dollars are being wasted and disrespected.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



Incumbent Cindy Axne (D) and Zach Nunn running in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District election

Incumbent Cindy Axne (D) and Zach Nunn (R) are running in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District election on Nov. 8, 2022.

The Gazette’s Liz Mathews said the race was “likely Iowa’s most competitive House election.” In the 2020 election, Axne defeated David Young (R) by 1.4 percentage points. According to a Daily Kos analysis of the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) would have defeated Joe Biden (D) by 0.1 percentage points in the 3rd district and, after redistricting, would have defeated Biden by 0.4 percentage points in the redrawn district.

Axne has represented Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District since 2018. Axne ran a digital design firm and worked for the Iowa state government from 2005 to 2014, including positions in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Management, and Iowa Department of Administrative Services. “My parents raised me to speak out and not be afraid to take on the tough fights – even when it’s uncomfortable and means standing up to someone more powerful – and that’s how I’ve lived my life. And now, it’s why I’m running for Congress, because every Iowan deserves to be heard,” Axne said.

Nunn has represented Iowa State Senate District 15 since 2019, and previously represented District 30 in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. Nunn served in the Air Force in Afghanistan and Iraq and was a national counterintelligence officer and director of cybersecurity on the National Security Council. As of the 2022 election, Nunn owned a marketing business and commanded an intelligence squadron in the Iowa Air National Guard. “As Iowans, we live in tight knit communities and will always lend a helping hand to our neighbors during natural disasters and tough times. We are selfless, hard-working, and honest people living right in the Heartland of America – and it’s time to bring more of these values to Washington,” Nunn said.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 districts in the House are up for election. As of Sept. 2, 2022, Democrats hold a 219-211 advantage in the U.S. House with five vacant districts. Republicans need to gain a net of seven districts to win a majority in the chamber.



Iowa governor signs law to reduce duration of unemployment insurance benefits

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed HF 2355 on June 16, reducing the maximum length of unemployment insurance payments from 26 weeks to 16 weeks starting July 3. The law also re-defines suitable work and will require claimants to accept jobs that pay less than their previous jobs after their first week of benefits. Workers who claim unemployment insurance longer will have to take jobs that pay a lower percentage of their previous wages or salaries.

Workers who file for benefits before the week of July 3 will still be eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits, but they will have to comply with the new suitable work requirements.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

For more information on Iowa’s unemployment insurance program, click here. For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.

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Franken wins Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa

Michael Franken defeated Abby Finkenauer and Glenn Hurst in the June 7 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa and will face incumbent Chuck Grassley (R), first elected in 1980, in the general election.

According to the Des Moines Register‘s Tim Webber and Stephen Gruber-Miller: “Former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer entered the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate as the perceived frontrunner to challenge Grassley in November’s general election, but Franken pulled off an upset victory on Tuesday, with support that extended broadly throughout the state.”

Franken is a retired three-star U.S. Navy Admiral. He ran in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and lost to Theresa Greenfield. Franken campaigned on protecting voting rights and expanding federal programs for older Iowans, including Medicare. Franken said, “My family used military, my brother-in-law and myself, to go to college and do bigger things than what rural Lebanon, Iowa offered. My broad perspective is a product of exposure.” Franken said he appealed to “that middle segment who want logical, pragmatic, smart, dedicated, national servants to work for them. Leader servants. I believe I’m that person.”

Finkenauer represented Iowa’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2021. At the time of her election to the U.S. House, Finkenauer was, at age 29, the second-youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. She campaigned on term limits, saying members of Congress should not serve for more than 12 years. Finkenauer said, “when January 6 happened, that’s where everything changed for me. Because I saw as we had somebody sitting there, at that point for 45 years, Senator Grassley pushed conspiracies about the election. Not even talk about the truth and actually, you know, bring people together after that moment.”

Hurst was a family physician who also served as the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. He campaigned on Medicare for All and investing in rural America. Hurst said he was “a progressive candidate in this race that is different from the other candidates” because he supported Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. He said candidates in Iowa have lost because “they didn’t appeal to that desire for change.”



Nunn wins IA-03 Republican primary

Zach Nunn defeated Nicole Hasso and Gary Leffler in the Republican primary for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District on June 7, 2022. With more than 95% of precincts reporting, Nunn had received 66% of the vote to Hasso’s 19% and Leffler’s 15%.

Heading into the primary, Nunn and Hasso led in endorsements and fundraising. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), and Americans for Prosperity Action endorsed Nunn. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) endorsed Hasso. Nunn and Hasso both reported six-figure fundraising to the Federal Elections Commission, while Leffler did not report any contributions.

Nunn, an Iowa state senator and Air Force veteran, said he is running for Congress to “stand up for our brave men and women in uniform, fight for safe neighborhoods and to secure our border.” According to KCCI‘s Amanda Rooker, “[Nunn] says his mission is to strengthen the economy and national defense.”

Hasso, a financial services professional, said she ran “to support our police, protect innocent life, defend our right to keep and bear arms, fight for lower taxes, smaller government, and better opportunities for all Americans.” Rooker wrote, “[Hasso said] her top priorities are tackling inflation and securing the border.”

Democratic incumbent Cindy Axne was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, defeating incumbent David Young (R) 49.3%-47.1%. In a 2020 rematch, Axne defeated Young 48.9% to 47.5%.

As of May 31, major independent observers rated the general election as a toss-up. After Nunn won the Republican primary, Dave Wasserman—U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report—and Kyle Kondik—managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball—tweeted that their publications would change the rating of the general election in Iowa’s 3rd District from toss-up to lean Republican.

After redistricting, Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District gained nine counties that voted for former President Donald Trump (R) in the 2020 election. The district voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.



Three candidates running for Republican nomination in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District

Nicole Hasso, Gary Leffler, and Zach Nunn are running in the Republican primary for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District on June 7, 2022. Hasso and Nunn lead in endorsements and fundraising.

According to the Des Moines Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel, “It’s been a relatively low-key primary race ahead of what is expected to be one of the hottest general election contests in the country. The three Republicans have been quietly campaigning across the newly configured 3rd Congressional District and raising money, preferring to focus their ire on [Democratic incumbent Cindy Axne] than each other.”

Hasso, a financial services professional, said she is running “to support our police, protect innocent life, defend our right to keep and bear arms, fight for lower taxes, smaller government, and better opportunities for all Americans.” According to KCCI’s Amanda Rooker, “[Hasso] says her top priorities are tackling inflation and securing the border.” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) endorsed Hasso in August 2021, calling her an “outsider who will take on the Washington swamp and will help fight back against the left’s extremist agenda.”

Nunn is an Iowa state senator and Air Force veteran who owns a marketing business and commands an intelligence squadron in the Iowa Air National Guard. Nunn said he is running to “stand up for our brave men and women in uniform, fight for safe neighborhoods and to secure our border.” According to Rooker, “[Nunn] says his mission is to strengthen the economy and national defense.” Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), and Americans for Prosperity Action endorsed Nunn. Crenshaw said, “I’m supporting Zach because I know that he’ll continue to defend our freedom and liberties as we both have done on the battlefield and now in public service.”

Axne was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, defeating incumbent David Young (R) 49%-47%. In a 2020 rematch, Axne won re-election with 49% of the vote to Young’s 48%.

Major independent observers rated the general election as a toss-up. After redistricting, Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District gained nine counties that voted for former President Donald Trump (R) in the 2020 election. The district voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.



Three candidates running Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa

Abby Finkenauer, Michael Franken, and Glenn Hurst are running in the June 7 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa. The incumbent is Chuck Grassley(R), who was first elected in 1980.

Finkenauer represented Iowa’s 1st Congressional District from 2018 to 2021. At the time of her election to the U.S. House, Finkenauer was, at age 29, the second-youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. She has campaigned on term limits, saying members of Congress should not serve for more than 12 years. Finkenauer said, “when January 6 happened, that’s where everything changed for me. Because I saw as we had somebody sitting there, at that point for 45 years, Senator Grassley pushed conspiracies about the election. Not even talk about the truth and actually, you know, bring people together after that moment.”

Franken is a retired three-star U.S. Navy Admiral. He ran in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and lost to Theresa Greenfield. Franken has campaigned on protecting voting rights and expanding federal programs for older Iowans, including Medicare. Franken has said, “My family used military, my brother-in-law and myself, to go to college and do bigger things than what rural Lebanon, Iowa offered. My broad perspective is a product of exposure.” Franken said he appeals to, “that middle segment who want logical, pragmatic, smart, dedicated, national servants to work for them. Leader servants. I believe I’m that person.”.

Hurst is a family physician who also serves as the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. He has run on Medicare for All and investing in rural America. Hurst said he is “a progressive candidate in this race that is different from the other candidates” because he supports Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. He said candidates in Iowa have lost because “they didn’t appeal to that desire for change.”