Reynolds points to economy but Hubbell notes continued needs
DES MOINES (AP) — Republican Kim Reynolds won her first full term as governor Tuesday, beating Democratic businessman Fred Hubbell to become the first woman elected governor in Iowa.
Reynolds became governor in 2017 after Terry Branstad was named ambassador to China. She had previously won two terms as lieutenant governor.
In her campaign, Reynolds pointed to Iowa’s low unemployment rate and her support of legislation that lowered taxes, expanded mental health options and sought to outlaw most abortions.
She overcame a challenge from Hubbell, who argued Reynolds had poorly managed the state and had wasted taxpayer money on corporate tax breaks. Hubbell also criticized Reynolds for her support for privatizing Iowa’s Medicaid system for poor and disabled people.
Although the $18 million raised by Hubbell was a record for an Iowa gubernatorial candidate, that figure includes $6.4 million of his own money. Reynolds raised nearly $11 million.
Reynolds portrayed herself as a fifth-generation Iowa resident from a working-class family who, as a teenager, worked as a waitress at a department store restaurant and as a grocery store checker.
Reynolds, 59, was a four-term county treasurer and served a partial Iowa Senate term before joining Branstad’s ticket in 2010. She served as his lieutenant governor from 2011 until May 2017, when she became governor.
She was elected on a day Iowans also sent two women to the U.S. House for the first time, handing defeat to two incumbent Republican men.
Iowa election officials said the state broke the record for mid-term election absentee ballots with more than 538,000 votes cast before Tuesday. The previous record was 2014 with 475,402. The vote totals were also expected to be a record for a mid-term election.