Reynolds wins and Republicans keep control of the legislature despite record turnout in Johnson County

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Governor Kim Reynolds exits Hamburg Inn minutes after arriving. Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Gov. Kim Reynolds won a hotly contested race against Democrat Fred Hubbell in Tuesday’s general election. It was the first gubernatorial victory for the incumbent, who became governor in 2017 when Terry Branstad was appointed ambassador to China.

Hubbell won five of the state’s six most populous counties, losing only Woodbury County in western Iowa. He carried Johnson County with 72 percent of the vote, and received 55 percent of the vote in Linn County. Reynolds, however, had a strong showing throughout the rural parts of the state.

Republicans also retained control of both chambers of the Iowa legislature.

Treasure Michael Fitzgerald and Attorney General Tom Miller, both Democrats, easily won reelection. It will be 10th term in office for both incumbents. Fitzgerald is the longest-serving state treasurer in the country.

The race for State Auditor was won by Rob Sand, a Democrat, who defeated incumbent Mary Mosiman. Secretary of State Paul Pate overcame a challenge by Democrat Deirdre DeJear, the first black person to win a major party’s nomination for a statewide office in Iowa’s history. Incumbent Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, a Republican, won his race.

Iowa Democrats had a good night at the congressional level. Dave Loebsack, who had been the sole Democrat in the state’s four member delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, easily won reelection. Fellow Democrats Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne defeated Republican incumbnents in the 1st and 3rd House Districts, respectively. Despite being regarded throughout the country in the final weeks of the campaign as an odious figure because of his white nationalism and homophobia, Republican Steve King won his ninth term representing western Iowa in Congress.

In county level races, Democrats Janelle Rettig and Pat Heiden won their races for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. All the candidates elected to fill the three seats on the Linn County Board of Supervisors — Stacey Walker, Ben Rogers and Brent Oleson — are Democrats.

Zach Wahls, who is often cited as an important figure in the future of the Iowa Democratic Party, won his race for State Senate District 37, which covers parts of Johnson and Muscatine Counties, as well as Cedar County, by a wide margin.

The Secretary of State’s Office estimates statewide voter turnout in the election at 59.8 percent. Turnout in Johnson County far exceeded that. According to the county auditor, 68,163 voters, or 72.4 percent of registered voters, cast ballots in the election. That tops the previous record voter turnout for a gubernatorial election by 15,000 voters.

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