The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Takeaways from Iowa’s 2018 primary election

The Daily Iowan recaps the 2018 primary election and looks forward to November.
Nick Rohlman
Iowa Democratic nominee for governor Fred Hubbell speaks at a campaign event at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on Sunday, June 3. Hubbell will face off against incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds in November. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

The 2018 primary election was certainly one for the books, with record-breaking turnout, a gubernatorial race, and a few interesting outcomes along the way.

Iowa sees record turnout

More Iowans turned out to vote in a June primary than ever this year. The previous mark was set in 2014 with 233,090 votes. Approximately 50,000 more ballots were cast, with 13.42 percent of overall registered voters heading to the polls.

Records were also set for early voting, which began May 7. Approximately 9,000 more voters cast absentee ballots, breaking the previous mark set in 2014.

Despite the overall trend of Democrats voting at higher rates than Republicans this year, the county with the highest turnout percentage was the heavily Republican Lyon County. Located in the northwest corner of the state, 24.91 percent of the 8,454 registered voters cast their ballots. Of those who turned out, 91.50 percent of voters were Republican.

Audubon County had the lowest turnout rate at 5.19 percent of 4,314 registered voters headed to the polls. The majority of ballots cast in Audubon County were Republican.

Johnson County had slightly higher than average turnout with 17.40 percent of 107,243 registered voters casting ballots.

Hubbell, Reynolds to face off in gubernatorial race

Retired business executive Fred Hubbell finished with a 35 percentage point lead over registered nurse and union leader Cathy Glasson, who finished in second place in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

In an Iowa City rally held days before the election, Hubbell said he was ready to hit the ground running if he received the nomination. In the days following the election, Hubbell visited six counties as part of his “thank-you” tour. Prior to Election Day, he traveled the state to engage with voters.

Reynolds made an appearance at the fourth-annual Roast & Ride held by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. In a press conference, Ernst, who is not up for re-election this year, said she and Reynolds are close friends, and she would be quite involved in Reynolds’ campaign.

RELATED: Republican leaders prepare for midterm elections at Ernst’s Roast & Ride

Ernst and Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann took the stage following the motorcycle ride and voiced their support for Reynolds. The Republican governor also spoke during the event about her campaign.

As the incumbent, she has a few advantages in the race, including name recognition and association with the Republican Party, which has more registered voters in Iowa than do Democrats. Another advantage incumbents typically have is in the area of fundraising, but that may not be the case for this election.

Latest campaign-disclosure reports, published June 1, show Hubbell raised $848,454.50 during the last disclosure period, which started in May. In the same period, Reynolds raised $143,765.

Throughout his campaign, Hubbell has raised approximately $4 million, a majority of which has come from his own accounts.

Running unopposed in the primary election, Reynolds has spent a fraction of what Hubbell has during her campaign. Spending, combined with approximately $4 million of cash on hand at the start of the latest disclosure period, leaves her with $4,007,708.63 going into the general-election campaign.

RELATED: Reynolds girds for gubernatorial campaign

In comparison, Hubbell will head into the general election with $114,941.21 after spending $981,563.32 during the last disclosure period.

Money is not everything when it comes to campaigning, but it is important. Campaign funding allows candidates to travel, purchase advertising, and hold events — all which can help gain support.

However, in a previous interview with The Daily Iowan, University of Iowa political-science Professor Frederick Boehmke said some wealthy campaigns have lost elections because they did not connect with voters.

Interesting outcomes in other races

While current Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate ran unopposed in the Republican primary, the race on the Democratic side was a close one. Businesswoman Deidre DeJear beat Jim Mowrer for the nomination by 3 percentage points, making her the first African American nominated by a major party for a statewide office in Iowa.

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat, which Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa, has held for more than a decade, got a little interesting the primary. After nominating petitions from two counties were challenged, Republican candidate Ginny Caligiuri began a write-in campaign against Chris Peters in the Republican primary.

While it’s unknown how many votes Caligiuri received, 12.45 percent of the votes were write-ins. In other races, write-ins generally received less than 1 percent of the vote when there was a candidate on the ballot.

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About the Contributor
Emily Wangen
Emily Wangen, Photojournalist
Email: [email protected] Emily Wangen is a junior at the UI majoring in political science and minoring in economics. This is her third year at The DI. Emily works as a photojournalist and a designer.