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AP projects Zach Nunn as GOP primary winner in 3rd Congressional District

Nunn beat GOP opponents Gary Leffler and Nicole Hasso in the primary. He will now face incumbent Cindy Axne in November.

POLK COUNTY, Iowa — Local 5 has live election results for this race in the story below, and complete primary election results are at this link.

A Republican state senator has captured the slot to take on Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne this fall in a newly drawn district that appears more favorable for the GOP.

Axne is the only Democrat in Iowa's House delegation.

State Sen. Zach Nunn easily outdistanced rivals Nicole Hasso, a financial services worker, and Gary Leffler, who works in the construction industry, to claim the GOP spot. Nunn, an Air Force pilot who has served in the Legislature since 2014 and has worked to cut taxes, was the best known among the GOP contenders.

In previous elections, Axne was elevated by her strong support in the Des Moines area, even as she struggled in rural counties that typically lean Republican. The new district includes several counties in southern Iowa known to turn out strongly for Republicans, increasing the pressure on Axne to drive up her numbers in Democratic-friendly Des Moines and its suburbs.

Republican Nominee: Zach Nunn (AP Projection at 9:15 p.m.)

The candidates

Gary Leffler

Credit: Leffler for Congress

Gary Leffler is a construction consultant and financial services professional.

Leffler cites his work experience and passion for agriculture as the building blocks for a campaign built on dealing with supply-chain issues, inflation and affordable housing among other economic issues. 

Leffler has worked with multiple Republican campaigns before, including former Former President Donald Trump, Sen. Joni Ernst, Gov. Kim Reynolds and more, according to his Twitter.

Nicole Hasso

Credit: nicolehasso.com

Nicole Hasso, originally from the south side of Chicago, is a financial services professional that cites her choices and her drive as the reason she is able to live "the American dream."

According to her campaign website, Hasso is the first person in her family to graduate high school and attended Drake University. Her campaign focused on supporting the police, anti-abortion activism, gun ownership rights and lowering taxes.  

RELATED: Primary Preview: Meet the 3 Republicans hoping to unseat Rep. Cindy Axne

Zach Nunn

Credit: Iowa Legislature

Zach Nunn is currently serving in the Iowa Senate for District 15. Nunn also served in the U.S. Military, with three combat tours overseas and 700 air combat hours.

His campaign focused on strengthening Iowa's economy, police presence and agriculture industry as well as increasing national defense funds. 

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