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Reynolds wins 2nd full term as Iowa governor, promises 'bold, conservative agenda'

AP election data shows Reynolds with 58% of the vote (706,299 votes) and DeJear with 40% of the vote (481,399 votes) with 99% of precincts reporting.


Kim Reynolds won a second full term as Iowa governor Tuesday, defeating Democratic candidate Deidre DeJear, the Associated Press says. 

AP election data shows Reynolds with 58% of the vote (706,299 votes) and DeJear with 40% of the vote (481,399 votes) with 99% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning.

The race was called shortly after polls closed Tuesday, which generally means AP is using results from AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate that can help confirm a candidate’s victory.  

“The results from the poll — along with our analysis of early voting and other statistics — confirm our expectation that longstanding political trends in these states will hold,” said David Scott, a senior editor who helps oversee AP’s coverage of elections. 

Reynolds was appointed governor in 2017 and narrowly won her first full term a year later, but her run for reelection never seemed in doubt as she has raised nearly $7.5 million and campaigned on her success in building a $2 billion surplus even as she pushed through tax cuts. 

"We are not stopping. We are not slowing down," Reynolds said an at Iowa GOP event as results trickled in Tuesday night. "I am so excited to get back to work and to lay out a bold, conservative agenda."

Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll conducted between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3 showed a 17-percentage point advantage for Reynolds, with 54% of likely voters supporting the incumbent and 37% supporting DeJear. Around 4% say they planned to vote for Libertarian candidate Rick Stewart.   

Here's how they fared in previous Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Polls this year:  

  • July: 48% Reynolds, 31% DeJear 

  • October: 52% Reynolds, 35% DeJear 

Visit this link for complete election results or text RESULTS to 515-457-1026.

Both DeJear and Reynolds increased in favorability over the months, but their 17-point difference remained steady leading up to the election. 

DeJear, a businesswoman who has worked on political campaigns with Barack Obama, was hoping to unseat Reynolds and become Iowa's first Democrat-elected governor in 16 years. She previously ran for Iowa Secretary of State against Paul Pate in 2018 and lost. 

DeJear sent out the following statement Tuesday night:

"It’s been an honor to be your nominee. To every Iowan who believed in our campaign, thank you. I promise that I will never stop fighting for our public schools, the right to choose, and for every single Iowan. You are all #WorthTheWork."

In the sole debate between the candidates, DeJear argued that Republicans led by Reynolds had built up the massive surplus by underfunding key services, such as schools, prisons and mental health care programs. 

“While we can boast about a surplus we have to think about at what cost. We see the degradation of our education system happening right before our eyes. We’re asking our systems to do more with a lot less,” she said. “That surplus is evidence the Iowa taxpayer dollar is not going to work. It’s just being hoarded.” 

Reynolds, who has signed multiple tax cuts into law in recent years, said Democrats were wrong to predict doom if large tax cuts were approved and that Republicans believed Iowans deserved to hold onto as much of their money as possible. 

“The bottom line is they think that they know what to do with your money better than you do," Reynolds said. “They want to take your money and develop government programs instead of giving it back to Iowans and letting them choose what do to with their money.” 

Reynolds typically doesn’t acknowledge the role of a surge in federal spending in Iowa’s ability to pile up money in reserve or to spend on programs such as broadband expansion or childcare programs. 

At their debate, the issue of abortion sparked the most contentious exchange between Reynolds and DeJear. 

Reynolds supports elimination of most abortion rights while DeJear favors legislative action to guarantee the right to an abortion in Iowa. Reynolds has asked the Iowa courts to impose a ban on abortions at about 6 weeks, often before women know they are pregnant, and has declined to say whether she would propose a complete ban on the procedure if reelected. 

Reynolds also signed legislation prohibiting transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ high school sports and women’s college athletics while DeJear, an advocate for LGBTQ rights, has said one of her main goals as governor would be to make Iowa a welcome place for everyone. 

Republicans believe they have a good chance to capture all statewide offices this year but must convince voters to reject two long-time Democratic incumbents. 

Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller, the nation's longest-serving state attorney general, is seeking another term. He’s challenged by Republican lawyer Brenna Bird. 

Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat, is the longest-serving state treasurer, having been elected in 1982. He is challenged by Republican Iowa Sen. Roby Smith. 

State Auditor Rob Sand is seeking a second term, challenged by Republican Todd Halbur. 

Polls are closed in Iowa.  Visit this link for complete election results or text RESULTS to 515-457-1026.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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