Less than five minutes after the polls closed on Tuesday, the Associated Press declared Gov. Kim Reynolds had won reelection, defeating Democrat Deidre DeJear and Libertarian Rick Stewart.
Within minutes, Reynolds herself had declared victory in a tweet.
As rapid as it was, the AP’s call was expected. Reynolds raised five times the amount of money DeJear did during this election cycle, and massively outspent DeJear throughout the campaign. In July, the Iowa Poll showed the governor with a 17 percentage point lead, and she maintained that lead in the edition of the poll published in October.
The governor largely ignored DeJear throughout the campaign, almost never mentioning her name. Instead, Reynolds focused her campaign rhetoric on President Joe Biden, seeking to capitalize on the president’s low approval ratings. At the same time, the governor boasted about the amount her administration was spending on a variety of infrastructure projects around the state, without acknowledging the money for the project was provided by the federal government through legislation Biden has pushed through Congress.
The most surprising thing in the governor’s race on Election Day happened hours before the polls closed, when KCRG reported the Iowa Republican Party had told the station its reporter wouldn’t be admitted into the GOP Victory Party in Des Moines, where Reynolds and other top Republicans would be speaking, “in an apparent effort to blacklist a media outlet due to coverage.”
“This is an unprecedented action in my 20+ years in TV news, 17 of it in Iowa,” Adam Carros, KCRG news director, said. “I cannot recall a single instance a political party has blocked a local TV or newspaper outlet from its election night event in Iowa.”
KCRG noted the Iowa Republican Party has frequently complained about fact-checks it had performed on Republican campaign ads that demonstrated distortions and dishonest claims, and other work by its reporters.
The Iowa Republican Party claimed it barred KCRG over concerns about a lack of available space.
“Quite simply, there is no reason to believe this decision was based on capacity,” Carros said. “Based on previous years of covering these events, including in the same venue, capacity has never been an issue for local TV or print media, as evidenced by other outlets getting access to this year’s GOP event. I have every reason to believe this is political retribution for our fact checks and other reporting the party deemed unfavorable.”