Morning Digest: Can Democrats retake Iowa’s House? Our data shows it’ll be tough, but there is a way

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

Gov-by-LD: Last week, Iowa state Rep. Andy McKean announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and joining the Democrats, a move that shaved the GOP’s edge in the chamber to just a 53-47 spread. The switch by McKean, who is seeking re-election next year, should give Democrats a better shot at flipping the House next year, but as our new data shows, Team Blue still needs some good fortune to win back the majority they picked up in 2006 but lost in the 2010 GOP wave.

Campaign Action

Daily Kos Elections has crunched the results of the Hawkeye State’s 2018 gubernatorial election, where Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds defeated Democrat Fred Hubbell, for every legislative district in the state. Reynolds only won statewide 50.3-47.5, but she carried 60 House seats compared to Hubbell’s 39. The final district, HD-60 in the Waterloo area, produced an exact tie for both gubernatorial candidates, but Democrat Dave Williams unseated Republican incumbent Walt Rogers there 51-49.

While Reynolds’ victory in 60 of the chamber’s 100 seats looks pretty intimidating on the surface, there’s reason to think that Democrats still could win a majority under this map, which was drawn up by a bipartisan commission, if conditions in 2020 are favorable.

In particular, we also looked at the results of last year’s race for state auditor, where Democrat Rob Sand unseated Republican incumbent Mary Mosiman 51.0-46.4 and, in so doing, took 59 districts. Sand’s performance was the best statewide by a non-incumbent Democrat last year, so his election gives us a reasonable benchmark for exploring where the party could make gains when looking past the gubernatorial numbers.

We’ve taken a deep dive into all the data, including the numbers for the state Senate, right here (there’s also a cool map). You can also find our master list of statewide election results by congressional and legislative district here, and our data from 2018 here.

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