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5 takeaways from Iowa's 2022 midterm elections

The 2022 midterm elections have come and gone, but a few key questions still remain for many Iowans.

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The 2022 midterm elections have come and gone, but a few key questions still remain. 

Here are the five things Iowans should take away from the 2022 midterms. 

Iowa maintains its status as a Republican stronghold

In many ways, the midterm elections in Iowa signaled the state will maintain business as usual. Gov. Kim Reynolds won reelection with 58% of the vote as of Wednesday evening, easily defeating Democrat Deidre DeJear. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley faced some of his toughest competition yet in Retired Admiral Michael Franken, a moderate Democrat. However, according to the Associated Press, the 89-year-old Grassley came out victorious with 56% of the vote, earning him his eighth term in the U.S. Senate. 

Other Republican incumbents in the state, including Secretary of State Paul Pate and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, maintained their roles. 

On top of all that, Iowa GOP candidates swept all four U.S. House races:

  • 1st District: Mariannette Miller-Meeks over Christina Bohannan
  • 2nd District: Ashley Hinson over Liz Mathis
  • 3rd District: Zach Nunn over Cindy Axne
  • 4th District: Randy Feenstra over Ryan Melton

Brenna Bird was also elected the state's attorney general, and Roby Smith the state treasurer. More on them later.

RELATED: Election 2022: Updated results from across the country

Races in the suburbs gave Democrats some narrow statehouse wins

In central Iowa, some of this election's most-watched races took place in the suburbs of Des Moines. 

In Senate District 14, located in West Des Moines, two incumbents faced off thanks to redistricting. Sen. Jake Chapman, the president of the Iowa Senate, went head-to-head with Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott (D). 

Trone Garriott's 51% of the vote topped Chapman at 49%, AP data shows.

A similar battle played out in Ankeny, where Democrat Molly Buck led Republican Marvis Landon by just 130 votes with 100% of precincts reporting to represent District 41 in the Iowa House. The seat had previously been held by Marvis' husband, the late State Rep. John Landon

Notably, both Trone Garriott and Buck made funding public education a cornerstone of their campaign; signaling the issue as key to winning over suburban voters. 

Iowans made their voices heard in support of the right to bear arms

Iowans voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to bear arms in Iowa. 

Around 65% of voters voted yes, while 35% voted no, the AP reports. 

The amendment included language making it harder for courts to enforce limits on gun possession, ownership and use by enforcing strict scrutiny. 

The vote comes as a blow to gun safety advocates, such as Art Roche with Iowans for Gun Safety. Local 5 spoke to Roche in mid-October, prior to the midterm election. 

"[The amendment] will tie the hands of judges in court when they are making a judgment on a case involving guns and be forced to go with the least restrictive situation for a gun offender," Roche said.

However, second amendment supporters such as John McLaughlin with the Iowa Firearms Coalition had a different point of view. 

"We're just trying to keep our fundamental rights our natural rights not to let some legislative body or lower court or something like that interfere with that," he told Local 5 in October. 

RELATED: Iowans approve statewide ballot measure on gun rights

Democratic incumbents not as safe as years past

While the race for governor and for U.S. Senate favored Republicans from the get-go, Republicans also managed to score some key seats long held by Democrats. 

Republican Zach Nunn defeated Democratic incumbent Cindy Axne to become the new representative of Iowa's 3rd Congressional District. Axne was first elected in 2018.

Roby Smith defeated Democratic incumbent Michael Fitzgerald to become Iowa's next state treasurer. Fitzgerald was first elected to statewide office in 1982

In a similar vein, Republican Brenna Bird unseated Tom Miller to become Iowa Attorney General. Miller is currently the longest-serving attorney general in the nation.

Some things are still up in the air

There are still some unknowns about midterm election results in Iowa. 

Early Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Paul Pate tweeted that Des Moines and Warren counties would need to recount votes immediately. As of 4:32 p.m. Wednesday, both counties are still marked as partially reported on the secretary's website

In addition, the state auditor's race also remains uncalled. 

Incumbent Rob Sand (D) currently holds the lead with 598,617 votes, compared to challenger Todd Halbur (R) with 595,448.

RELATED: 2 Iowa counties ordered to recount votes immediately due to 'technical problems'

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