Run GenZ takes credit for helping keep Iowa a deep red state
Run GenZ, a group that launched in Des Moines in 2020, recruited more than 100 young Republicans to run for political office in the last election cycle, co-founder and State Rep. Joe Mitchell tells Axios.
Why it matters: It could help churn out younger conservative voters — a demographic that’s long eluded the Republican party.
- Nationwide, young voters are credited for staving off a Republican wave.
- But Iowa Republicans overwhelmingly prevailed and Mitchell contends his group contributed.
State of play: The GOP won each congressional race in Iowa, all but one statewide elected office and added seats to their majorities in the state's House and Senate.
By the numbers: Iowa's general election statistics won't be available until January, but in this year's primary, 54% of voters under 34 were registered as Democrats while 45% were Republican.
- That compares to 76% Democrats and 24% Republicans in the 2018 primary.
- Nationally, voters who were 29 or younger favored Democrats by a 62% to 35% margin in the midterm election, according to day-after estimates from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.
The big picture: Both parties recognize a need to mentor and recruit young people to run for office, with Democrats launching Run For Something in 2017.
- It takes credit for helping to elect hundreds of young Democrats in the U.S. although the group's online map doesn’t show any recent candidates from Iowa.
The other side: Iowa Democrats are not necessarily focused on recruiting Generation Z candidates to run for office because they don't need to, House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst, told Axios.
- The GOP's stands against abortion, legal marijuana and transgender rights turns young voters off in ways that groups like Mitchell's can never keep up with, Konfrst said.
Of note: Mitchell, at 21, became one of the youngest state representatives in Iowa history after he was elected in 2018.
- But he lost his primary in June after coming under attack for his support of LGBTQ rights.
What's next: He plans to continue to help build Run GenZ with the help of former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who is an advisory board chairperson for the group.
- The group, which is now based in Texas, says its candidates achieved 90 victories to 35 losses across 32 states in the 2021-2022 election cycle.
- That includes State Rep. Carter Nordman, a 24-year-old from Panora who was reelected last month Mitchell said.
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