IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Democrats in Iowa are seeking to regain some power in Tuesday's midterms after back-to-back elections that have seen the traditionally centrist state take a sharp turn to the right.
Republicans, meanwhile, are hoping to fend off challengers to maintain control of the governor's office, the Legislature and the congressional delegation. GOP incumbents also hold three of Iowa's four seats in the U.S. House, along with the secretary of state, the state auditor and the agriculture secretary.
The marquee race features Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democrat Fred Hubbell, who have been engaged in a competitive and expensive campaign.
Reynolds, the longtime lieutenant governor who was elevated to governor last year, is seeking a full four-year term as Iowa's first female chief executive. Reynolds has told voters that Iowa is moving in the right direction and frequently touts its "No. 1 state" ranking by U.S. News and World Report.
Hubbell, a businessman and philanthropist from one of the state's most prominent families, has sunk millions of his own money into his first run for public office. Hubbell argues that the state has gone too far to the right and is underfunding public education and mismanaging programs like Medicaid.
Iowa voters will decide the outcome of two of the most competitive congressional races in the nation, which could impact partisan control of the House.
In northeastern Iowa's 1st Congressional District, Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer is looking to oust Rep. Rod Blum, a Republican.
Finkenauer would become one of the youngest women in Congress if elected at age 29. Blum, a businessman and strong supporter of President Donald Trump, is seeking to overcome a House ethics investigation into one of his companies to win a third term.
In Iowa's 3rd District, GOP Rep. David Young is also fighting for a third term. The former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley has been locked in a tight race against Democrat Cindy Axne, a former state government official who has run on health care and agricultural issues.
Rep. Steve King is asking voters in conservative northwestern Iowa's 4th District to give him his ninth term in Congress, despite his reputation for making inflammatory remarks about race and supporting far-right political movements. Democrat J.D. Scholten has been running an aggressive campaign, seeking an upset that appears unlikely but would reverberate nationally.
Three other statewide races featuring GOP incumbents and relatively young Democratic challengers have been fiercely contested.
Deidre DeJear, 32, a former campaign organizer for President Barack Obama, looks to become the first black woman elected to statewide office in Iowa. She is challenging Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, who championed the new voter identification law. DeJear argues the law disenfranchises many voters, while Pate says that it ensures election integrity.
In the auditor's race, incumbent Mary Mosiman is hoping to get past a well-funded challenge by Democrat Rob Sand, a 36-year-old former prosecutor who argues that Mosiman has gone too easy on government corruption. Mosiman has argued that Sand isn't qualified for the position because he's not a certified public accountant.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig is seeking a full four-year term after his appointment in March. Naig, a Republican, has received backing from the Iowa Farm Bureau. He is running against Democrat Tim Gannon, a farmer and former USDA official.
Voters gave Republicans large majorities in the 2016 election, and GOP lawmakers responded by approving laws that eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public workers, expanded gun rights, cut taxes and enacted the nation's most restrictive abortion ban.
The Legislature also passed a requirement that voters show identification at the polls, but those without one Tuesday can cast ballots by signing an oath attesting to their identities.
Democrats will try to reduce the Republican majority, with the GOP holding 29 of 50 seats in the Senate and 58 of 100 House seats.
For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics
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