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#8 Iowa elects first female governor, congresswomen | The Gazette Top Stories 2018

2018 saw a record number of women run for office across state, nation

Gov. Kim Reynolds waves to the crowd gathered at an Iowa GOP election night party Nov. 6 in Des Moines. Reynolds, who became governor in 2017 when Terry Branstad resigned, made history this year by becoming the first woman to be elected governor of Iowa. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Gov. Kim Reynolds waves to the crowd gathered at an Iowa GOP election night party Nov. 6 in Des Moines. Reynolds, who became governor in 2017 when Terry Branstad resigned, made history this year by becoming the first woman to be elected governor of Iowa. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Iowa elected its first female governor and first two female U.S. representatives in 2018.

Kim Reynolds assumed the governorship in May 2017 when former Gov. Terry Branstad left the post to become U.S. ambassador to China. On Nov. 6, Iowa voters chose Reynolds, a Republican, for her own four-year term over Democrat Fred Hubbell.

Iowa dropped its dubious distinction of being one of only a handful of states to never send a woman to the U.S. House of Representatives when voters Nov. 6 elected Democratic challengers Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne over male incumbents.

Finkenauer will lead Iowa’s 1st District, which includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque, while Axne will represent Iowa’s 3rd District, which includes Des Moines, Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa.

This year brought a record number of female candidates in Iowa and across the country.

Women made up 34 percent of candidates running for office in Iowa during the midterm election, up from 26 percent in 2016, according to data compiled by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics at Iowa State University.

Democratic women were mobilized by opposition to President Donald Trump, said Kelly Winfrey, Catt Center interim director, while female candidates of both parties mentioned the shortage of female officeholders and the #MeToo movement.

• Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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