ICYMI: New Al Hunt Column Highlights Reynolds’ Vulnerability in Iowa
In a new column for Bloomberg, Al Hunt highlights Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ vulnerability as she faces her first top-of-the-ticket election contest in 2018.
See below for excerpts from the column, or read online HERE
Iowa Is a Crucial Test for Any Blue Wave
A swing state has moved right in the last four years. Will it ever shift back?
No state changed its political colors more sharply in the past two election cycles than Iowa. Once a Democratic-leaning purple-blue state that backed Barack Obama, it is now a deeply Republican, Donald Trump-supporting red one.
Was that a permanent shift or an aberration with unique conditions and candidates?
That question shows what’s at stake this year in a state that is closely watched as a barometer for a swing state and because it’s the first contest in presidential elections.
“Iowa is a purple state accustomed to changing its collective political mind,” says Ann Selzer, a Des Moines-based pollster and a top expert on the Hawkeye State. She notes that Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, who took over from Terry Branstad when he became ambassador to China last year, is “untested,” with “poll numbers that suggest she is far from secure.”
… Democrats, however, point out that their party’s victories in special elections across the U.S. in recent months have exceeded previous results, indicating that the political energy is on their side. Trump’s popularity has dropped, and the trade war he threatens would be lethal in this agricultural heartland.
All governor’s races are different, but few as much as the one in Iowa this year. Reynolds, Iowa’s first female governor, lacks the political acumen of Branstad, who had been governor for a total of 22 years, starting with his first stint in the early 1980s. Recently, Reynolds’s office has become ensnared in a sexual-harassment scandal.