Abby Finkenauer will go to D.C. early next year as one of just two women elected to Congress under the age of 30 (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the other winner). She joins Cindy Axne in the joint honor of being the first women elected to the U.S. House out of Iowa, as well as the first Democratic women elected to federal office here.
The 29-year-old state legislator ousted incumbent Rod Blum from Iowa’s 1st District this evening. It was the end to Blum’s controversial and contentious second term in office, one where a series of angry outbursts and unforced errors from him soured voters on his public image.
Finkenauer’s victory also swings the 1st District, once a relatively reliable Democratic corner of the state, back to the blue column. It also adds an important building block to Democrats’ majority in the House, and ensures that Dave Loebsack is no longer so lonely in the Iowa delegation.
Finkenauer kept her campaign message focused on healthcare and jobs during her race, while also relating her personal story of growing up in a blue-collar family in Dubuque. That appears to have helped her reconnect with voters who abandoned the Democratic Party for Donald Trump two years ago in the working-class precincts around the district. Her record fundraising totals helped as well.
Republicans ran increasingly outlandish negative ads on immigration against Finkenauer, but the tactic did not seem to work for Blum in the same way it did for Trump.
Many national news outlets profiled Finkenauer in the run-up to her election. Expect that national attention to continue as she enters Congress as a young, Democratic woman from the Midwest.
by Pat Rynard