Ruling out gubernatorial bid, Cindy Axne announces candidacy for redrawn 3rd District

Iowa’s lone Democratic representative decided against a challenge to Gov. Kim Reynolds, announcing on Friday she would seek reelection to the 3rd District.


Lily Smith

Iowa 3rd Congressional District-elect Cindy Axne speaks to supporters during the statewide Democratic candidates’ watch party at Embassy Suites in Des Moines on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.

Caleb McCullough, Executive Editor

Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne, who had said she was not ruling out a run to challenge Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, announced Friday she will seek reelection to Iowa’s reconfigured 3rd Congressional District.

Until Friday, Axne had kept her plans open for 2022, saying at various times she was leaving open the options of running for Senate and governor, as well another term in the House. In August, she endorsed her former colleague in the U.S. House, Democrat Abby Finkenauer, for U.S. Senate, signaling she would not run for that office.

Three years ago, I came to Congress to fight for Iowans and their needs,” Axne wrote in a tweet Friday. “Since then, I’ve delivered tax cuts, disaster relief, and critical support to Iowa’s families and businesses. But my work is far from over, so I will seek to represent #IA03 again in 2022!”

The number of Democrats running to challenge Reynolds officially stands at two: state Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, and former candidate for secretary of state Diedre DeJear, have both announced their campaigns. State Auditor Rob Sand has said he is considering a run, but he has yet to announce his plans.

The announcement comes after Rep. Miller Meeks, R-Iowa, announced she would run to represent the 1st Congressional District, after new district maps placed her home of Wapello County into the 3rd District. The 1st District covers many of the counties currently in the 2nd District, which Miller-Meeks represents.

The newly drawn 3rd District contains 12 of the 16 counties of the current district, including Polk County, where Des Moines is located. It now stretches further into Southeast Iowa, reaching Wapello and Davis counties.

No other Democrats have announced plans to run in the district. Four Republicans have lined up in the primary to challenge Axne: Mary Ann Hanusa, Nicole Hasso, Gary Leffler, and Zach Nunn.