Republican Nunn beats incumbent House Democrat Axne
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans took control of every U.S. House seat in Iowa on Wednesday as state Sen. Zach Nunn edged out incumbent Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne.
Nunn held a narrow lead late Tuesday, but The Associated Press didn’t call the race until Wednesday because it was so close. Republicans swept Iowa’s three other House seats Tuesday.
During the campaign, Nunn emphasized his lifelong ties to the district that includes Des Moines and its suburbs. The 43-year-old from Bondurant stressed his conservative positions and his military combat experience with the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan as he appealed to voters.
Nunn also criticized Axne for her support of President Joe Biden’s policies, which are largely unpopular in the state. And Nunn raised questions about Axne’s purchases of the stocks of companies overseen by the financial services committee she sits on.
Before running for Congress this year, Nunn had represented parts of the district in the Iowa Senate and House.
Axne was accustomed to close races for Congress, but she wasn’t able to pull out a victory this time perhaps partly because the ballot didn’t feature a libertarian candidate whose presence may have taken some votes away from her Republican opponent. In 2018, Axne unseated David Young by 7,709 votes and defeated him again in a 2020 rematch by 6,208 votes.
Redistricting may have also helped Nunn beat Axne: Several Republican-heavy counties were added to her district when the lines were redrawn by the GOP-controlled Legislature last year. Iowa has also been growing steadily more conservative over the past decade as a growing number of rural voters abandoned the Democratic Party.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that eliminated a federal right to abortion, Axne attacked Nunn’s support during the GOP primary for banning abortion without exceptions even in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. Nunn later softened his stance on the issue this fall after winning the primary.