Oct 21, 2022 - Politics

Midterm elections 2022: Voting in Des Moines

An illustration of voting.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Welcome to Axios Des Moines' special midterm guide, with everything you need to know before you mail in your ballot or head to the polls.

Why it matters: This is the first major election since Iowa redistricted in 2021, creating new legislative seats and tight races pitting incumbents against each other.

  • Redistricting also resulted in Iowa's U.S. House races becoming more competitive. With the Democrats' House majority on the line, Iowa's 3rd District race could be under the microscope.

Voting in central Iowa

✉️ Early voting: Starting Oct. 19, Iowans can either vote at their county auditor's office in-person during business hours or send a completed mail-in ballot request that's received by the county before 5pm on Oct. 24.

🗳 Election Day: Polls open from 7am to 8pm. Find your voting location here.

U.S. House: Cindy Axne (D) vs. Zach Nunn (R)

Photo illustration of Democrat Rep. Cindy Axne and Republican Rep. Zach Nunn
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Courtesy of Cindy Axne campaign and Charlie Neibergall/AP Images

Iowa's 3rd Congressional District race pits Democrat incumbent Cindy Axne and Republican challenger Zach Nunn. Two important issues are:

  • Handling inflation

Axne: She supported the Inflation Reduction Act, which increased taxes on large corporations, addressed climate change and lowered prescription drug costs.

Nunn: He wants "meaningful tax cuts" to help boost Americans' wallets, along with investments in American energy and fixing the supply chain and workforce shortages, according to the Des Moines Register.

  • Guns

Axne: She believes in bringing back an assault weapons ban, according to the KCCI debate.

Nunn: He wants Congress to further fund and support hiring police officers to help address gun violence.

Go deeper:

U.S. Senate: Mike Franken (D) vs. Chuck Grassley (R)

Photo illustration of Democrat Mike Franken and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg, Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Iowa's U.S. Senate race is turning out to be a close one as long-serving Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley faces Democratic challenger Mike Franken.

  • Grassley's lead has narrowed to 3 percentage points, signaling his toughest re-election fight in 40 years, according to the latest Iowa Poll. The 89-year-old is seeking his eighth term in the Senate.

Key issues in their race include:

  • Abortion

Grassley: He is anti-abortion rights and has said decisions on abortion limits should be left to the states.

Franken: He is pro-abortion rights and has said abortion protections should be codified in federal law.

  • Insulin prices

Grassley: He was one of 43 Republicans who this year blocked a $35 monthly cap on insulin costs for people covered by private insurance.

  • He opposed the amendment because it didn't follow procedural rules. He said during this month's debate that he supports the cap and has supported other measures to achieve lower costs.

Franken: His campaign argues Grassley's vote on the insulin amendment underscores his history to protect campaign donor profits over people.

  • Grassley voted multiple times against the Affordable Care Act with no alternative because he "wants vapid profits" for the healthcare industry, Franken said during the debate.
  • An alleged kiss

Franken: He was asked during the debate about a former campaign staffer's allegation that he gave her an unwanted kiss.

  • He noted the matter was investigated by police and unfounded. He accused Grassley of politicizing the matter while weaponizing women's rights.

Grassley: He responded by telling Franken he's in no position to lecture him about women.

  • He also said his campaign did not release the accusation, which was first reported by Iowa Field Report, a conservative website.

Go deeper:

Governor's race: Deidre DeJear (D) vs. Kim Reynolds (R)

Photo illustration of Deidre DeJear, tinted blue, and Kim Reynolds, tinted red, separated by a white halftone divider
Deidre DeJear (left) and Gov. Kim Reynolds. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: courtesy the campaigns of Kim Reynolds and Deidre DeJear

State of play: Iowa Poll results released Monday show Gov. Kim Reynolds has a commanding 17-point lead over Deidre DeJear, the Register reports. The following issues have been the focus of their race:

  • Workforce shortage

DeJear: She wants to "build back" Iowa's workforce by investing in K-12 and higher education, while also offering higher retention bonuses to educators, according to Radio Iowa. Reynolds gave teachers a $1,000 bonus this year.

  • DeJear also wants to bring back collective bargaining power and raise the state's minimum wage to an unspecified amount.

Reynolds: Reynolds cut the state's unemployment benefits in 2021 to try to prompt more Iowans to work.

  • She also used millions in pandemic aid to fund internship, apprenticeship and scholarship programs. In 2018, she helped create the Future Ready Iowa Act, which funds training for needed jobs, the Register reports.
  • Education

DeJear: She wants to increase education funding for K-12 schools by at least 4% — nearly double the 2.5% increase Reynolds approved this year, according to IPR.

  • DeJear also wants to offer universal preschool and opposes Reynolds' private school tuition plan.

Reynolds: The governor said she is "pro-parent" during an Iowa Press debate and has advocated for her "school choice" bill, which would have allowed low- and middle-income students to leave their public schools and use state funding on private tuition instead.

  • Abortion

DeJear: She would veto any abortion restrictions lawmakers send to her desk and "protect the right to choose," IPR reports.

Reynolds: She is seeking court action to reinstate a law that bans the majority of abortions at six weeks, except in the case of rape, incest or the mother's life being at risk.

Go deeper:

Gun rights on the ballot

An illustration of voting.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Iowa would have some of the most extensive gun rights guarantees in the nation under a constitutional amendment on the midterm ballot.

  • The Iowa amendment would be subject to "strict scrutiny," the highest legal hurdle for legislation to clear if challenged in court.
  • Amendment advocates say it's a long-overdue measure to protect gun ownership as a fundamental individual right, but opponents contend it would override common-sense measures to protect public safety.

Read more.

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