Can Democrats win the Iowa Legislature?

Conservatives, midterms matter when it comes to state legislatures, too. Don’t ignore their power

Republicans are hoping to take control of the Iowa legislature next year, and Democrats are worried — especially about their performance in November.

The stakes are high. After Iowa’s Republican-led legislature gave the nod to an anti-abortion bill last year, the only other state where Democrats have gained a supermajority in the general assembly was California.

Now, Republicans will soon gain control of the Iowa House (Democrats will gain one seat), putting them on track to gain a supermajority in the Iowa Senate (Democrats are up one seat).

Republicans have a huge number of legislative districts in Iowa. But Democrats know that Iowa’s political map is more complicated than California’s: They will also have to contend with the GOP-led Legislature in Minnesota, where Republicans currently hold both chambers (and recently took their first step toward doing so in a Minnesota Supreme Court election), and the GOP-led Colorado legislature, where Republicans currently hold both chambers, and where Democrats will try to take control of both next year.

Even after the election, many Democrats say, the balance in the legislature’s House will look pretty bad. And they worry that Republicans will be able to pass some of their more far-right priorities.

If the November election was any indication, Democrats could find themselves underdogs in a lot of places — with Republicans winning control of the Colorado and Minnesota legislatures next year.

So what is all this political horsetrading about? Can Democrats win the legislature in the current political climate?

Well, Republicans are hoping the Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature will change when they get to full power next year.

“The voters of Iowa did not send us to the legislature to play with toys,” said Speaker of the Iowa House Paul Dunning (R-Anamosa). “They sent us to find common sense solutions to important issues.”

The stakes are high, but so is the GOP’s enthusiasm. Republican legislators in Minnesota have voted against abortion before. They’re on track to do the same

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