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Iowa Senate Turns Republican in Tuesday Voting

John Pemble/IPR
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann in downtown Des Moines Tuesday night.

The Iowa Republican Party is celebrating a victory in the Iowa Senate.  

After Tuesday’s voting,   Republicans picked up six seats to win a new 29 to 19 majority, the first time the GOP has controlled both Houses of the legislature since the 2002 election.  

It’s the first time since the 1996 election that Republicans held the trifecta:  the governor’s office and both the House and Senate.      

Senate minority leader Bill Dix, soon to be majority leader, addressed a cheering crowd at the GOP watch party in Des Moines.

“There’s going to be a new republican majority in the Iowa Senate, ladies and gentlemen,” Dix said.

Republicans knocked off six Democratic incumbents, including majority leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs.)  He was defeated by army reserve officer Dan Dawson.

Sen. Tom Courtney (D-Burlington) lost in part because of a tidal wave of support for Donald Trump in his district.   

Sen. Steve Sodders (D-State Center) was defeated with the help of the Iowa Firearms Coalition.  

By unofficial results, the Iowa House increased its majority to 59.  

Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann calls it a Republican wave.

“I think we sensed a bit of a wave,” Kaufmann said.   “I don’t think we realized it would  be a tidal wave quite frankly.”

Kaufmann was asked what would be some top Republican priorities now that they’re in control.

“I would say water quality and income taxes,” Kaufmann said.

In a statement, Senator Gronstal said his party lost some good public servants to tough races.

“We will continue to fight for the things that matter most to Iowans,” Gronstal said.  “A good education, access to healthcare, and growing the middle class.”

Governor Branstad celebrated the new trifecta.

“It’s a big responsibility,” Branstad said.

One Senate seat to replace the late Sen. Joe Seng (D-Davenport) will be filled in a December election.    The Senate now includes one independent, Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan.

In the House, two suburban Republicans, Majority Leader Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights) and Rep. Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines) survived tough challenges.  

Strong support for Donald Trump helped defeat  at least one Democratic incumbent in the House,  Rep. Patti Ruff (D-McGregor.)