Iowa borders Minnesota, and while the states have some similarities, they are moving in opposite political directions.
The Gopher State hasn’t elected a Republican to statewide office in nearly 15 years, yet Iowa has gone from slightly blue to purple to solidly red in less than a decade.
Barack Obama won the Hawkeye State twice at the presidential level, but then Donald Trump easily flipped it in 2016 and 2020; Iowa also now has multi-term Republican U.S. senators, with three of their four U.S. House members hailing from the GOP. At the state level, Republicans have held the “trifecta” (governor and both chambers of the legislature) since 2016, and strengthened their majority last year.
The success is partially attributable to Gov. Kim Reynolds. She joined the popular Ruthless Podcast at the Iowa State Fair late last week for a 20-minute interview on an array of topics.
The jovial governor specifically boasted about having schools open all year and pushing back against unions on behalf of kids and parents.
“We chose freedom over lockdowns and personal responsibility over mandates,” Reynolds said. “We have a lot of angry moms running for school board. We’ve all seen just how important local government is right now after taking it for granted.”
She also took partisan politics out of the classroom.
“We banned CRT the last legislative session,” she said. “It’s not about not teaching American history; it’s about not indoctrinating our kids with hate.”
After time in the private sector, the small-town Iowa native began her political career in local government. She assumed the governor’s office in May 2017 when long-time Gov. Terry Branstad became U.S. Ambassador to China, and was re-elected a year later.
“I love public service and getting things done, since you can see the difference that it makes,” Reynolds claimed.
She noted that her state posted one of the fastest recoveries in the country following COVID-19, because Iowa has an extremely diverse economy.
Reynolds also was proud to recently sign a major pro-police bill — naturally deemed “polarizing” by local media — to keep Iowans safe by penalizing protesters for crimes like looting, rioting or blocking roads.
In essence, the Iowa governor is doing the opposite of progressive, authoritarian blue state governors, especially in neighboring Minnesota and Illinois. It works, and she’s not reluctant to boast.
“People want safe communities to live in,” Reynolds explained. “Come here, we have wide open spaces, low cost of living, your dollars go so much further, our schools are open, and our communities are safe. I think we have a great story to tell.”