The 2020 Election is mostly in the books. Here it goes, race by race:
President: Shades of 2000! As I send this, Biden appears to have defeated Trump, but it is taking a few additional days of counting. Now let’s hope the Supreme Court stays out of this!
Trump won Iowa by 8%. I’ll just leave that there. In Johnson County, the Biden number was 71-27. The 2020 presidential election was the sixth consecutive presidential election in which Johnson County set a new turnout record, with 84,108 voters. We also set a new record for turnout, with 86.05%.
US Senate: Incumbent Senator Joni Ernst defeated Democrat Theresa Greenfield 52-46. This was a huge disappointment to me; I really thought Greenfield had a shot. Nationally, it appears Democrats picked up 1 seat, with one to be decided in December, leaving a razor-thin GOP advantage.
US House: Again, things went badly in Iowa. In our own 2nd District, Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks narrowly leads Democrat Rita Hart in an election where counting continues. We are just going to need to see how this one plays out. Johnson County gave Hart about 68% of the vote; I was confident we could break 70%. Had all the Biden voters also voted for Hart, she would have won comfortably. Obviously, we didn’t get it done. And it mattered.
J.D. Schloton, who is a great guy, lost his uphill battle in Iowa’s 4th. Democratic Representative Cindy Axne barely held on in Iowa’s 3rd District. I am heartbroken over Iowa’s 1st District, where incumbent Democrat Abby Finkenauer lost to GOP challenger Ashley Hinson. Finkenauer was a really good member of Congress; this really sucks. Nationally, Democrats netted a loss of a few seats, and hold a lead of approximately 226-209.
Iowa Senate: We started the night behind, 32-18. Democrats never thought they could overcome that margin but expected to pick up a couple of seats. Well, it didn’t happen. When the smoke cleared, it remained 32-18.
Iowa House: If you are a Democrat, this is your disaster. We started the night behind 53-47. Now we trail 59-41.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek fought a valiant fight but ended up losing in his quest for HD73. Lonny – thank you for your efforts! Another person I wanted to call out — Democratic Representative Jeff Kurtz of Fort Madison was defeated in his attempt to hold his seat. Jeff is a damn good person, a true friend of labor, and I wish him well.
Locally, Brad Kunkel will become our new Sheriff in January, while all the other Courthouse incumbents won their races.
Thanks for another term!
I was reelected on Tuesday to a fifth term. It is an honor and a privilege to represent the people of Johnson County. Please believe me when I tell you that I will never take this for granted. I promise to do my best to earn your trust. My sincere thanks for your support!
I am always willing to listen to your comments and concerns. Please feel free to contact me at this e-mail address, or by phone at the Board Office (356-6000) or home (354-7199).
Needless to say, this was the strangest election ever. I typically spend hundreds of hours marching in parades, knocking on doors, leafletting, talking strategy, going to events and making phone calls. All of that disappeared except the phone calls. Good Lord, I am tired of phone calls!
For what it is worth, I think the decision not to knock doors hurt Democrats. I understand why they made the decision they did. But it hurt.
I take a bit of credit for one of the good things this election season — that being Johnson County’s drive through voting. Auditor Weipert was considering renting a property to do the same thing, but I urged him to stay on the County campus and try the ramp. I think it worked pretty well, but only because of the tremendous leadership of Auditor Weipert, Deputy Auditor Bogdana Velterean, all the permanent and temporary Auditor’s Office employees, and all the SEATS drivers who made things flow.
Democrats did well here, as expected, but please don’t take that for granted! Huge props to Ed Cranston, Chair of the local Democratic Party, and all his Executive Board. They did a great job in difficult circumstances, and Ed’s leadership was crucial.
Also a shout out to the incredible Iowa City Eastside Dems! This group of women has inspired some other groups (westside, northside) but I am most familiar with my home girls! Seriously, the organization they have created is unbelievable! Women have been leading things since ‘16 — nowhere more so than the eastside of Iowa City!
Now comes the difficult part. Democrats in DC don’t have much of a path to get things done. Democrats in Des Moines have a smaller voice. And Democrats locally have plenty of challenges they need to face. Democrats in Iowa need to take stock. I hate to say it, but I don’t see much of anything changing. The same old people will get invited to the table, have the same discussions, and make the same decisions. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.