If it hadn’t been for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset over Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary, Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer would have been at the center of national attention for being the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. But as she runs for re-election in the 1st District, evading the label as a national Democratic figure could have been a blessing in disguise.
Iowa has dominated the recent news, which will likely become the new normal ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses. But the Hawkeye State will remain an important piece of the race for the House and Senate majorities long after the Democratic presidential nominee is selected.
All four of Iowa’s House districts will host competitive races in 2020. Democrats could fail to oust GOP Rep. Steve King and still maintain a firm hold on the House majority, but if Finkenauer loses in the 1st District, it’s likely a sign of a GOP comeback.
While Donald Trump narrowly carried Iowa’s 1st District in 2016, there are 22 other Democrats across the country who are defending seats where President Trump received a larger share of the vote. And Republicans need to gain 18 seats to win the majority.
The Lay Of The Land
The northeastern quarter of the state falls into Iowa’s 1st District, with population hubs Cedar Rapids (Linn County), Waterloo (Black Hawk County), and Dubuque (Dubuque County). Manufacturing is a major industry in the district’s cities, including aerospace company Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids and…