Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds wins reelection

The Republican incumbent will maintain control in Iowa’s gubernatorial office.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds celebrates with Caleb Primrose after winning reelection during a watch party for Iowa Republicans on Election Day at the Hilton Downtown in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Natalie Dunlap, Politics Editor

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will remain in power after winning her reelection bid on Tuesday night. She beat a challenge from Democrat Deidre DeJear and Libertarian Rick Stewart.

The Associated Press called the race shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

In her victory speech, Reynolds said it’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve, and that it’s a great honor to win another four years in office. 

“Aren’t you glad you live in the freedom-loving state of Iowa?” Reynolds said. “A state that’s rooted in faith, freedom, and hard work.”

Reynolds kept a 17-point lead in polls days before voting ended Tuesday night, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. She also maintained a fundraising advantage totaling $11.2 million compared to DeJear’s $2.4 million during the campaign.

DeJear spoke at the Democratic Watch Party in Des Moines and said she is proud of the work that was put into the campaign.

“I am extremely proud of the progress that we have been able to make. At the beginning of this campaign, there were a lot of naysayers. They were like ‘Don’t do it, do this instead, do that instead,’” DeJear said. “There were a lot of questions, there were a lot of concerns, but I’ll tell you the truth of the matter: everyday I believe democracy is worth fighting for.”

Reynolds recognized DeJear and said she respects anyone who is willing to put their name on the ballot. 

“While we have our differences, we both want Iowa to succeed and that’s how it should be,” she said. “Because at the end of the day, at the end of the campaign, we’re all Iowans and we’re all in this together.”

Though her campaign was unsuccessful, DeJear said at the Democrat’s watch party on Tuesday night that all the work put into her campaign was worth it. 

“I want you all to make sure that you walk out of this room knowing that our loss is not a loss all the way,” she said. “And the reason why I tell you that is because I don’t want you to give up.”

She campaigned by highlighting her record during the pandemic and implemented minimal restrictions and made masking in schools optional before most states. She’s also championed funding private schools through voucher programs, legislation that did not become law last session in the Iowa Legislature. 

Reynolds has ascended as a national political figure in the GOP in her current term, which included delivering the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. 

She previously served as the lieutenant governor and was first appointed to the governor’s office by previous Gov. Terry Branstad, who left the office to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China. She then won her seat in the 2018 election. 

“I am so excited to get back to work to lay out a bold conservative agenda,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds campaigned as an anti-abortion candidate. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, she has asked Iowa Courts to revisit several laws restricting abortion that were struck down. With the 2022 race behind her, Reynolds now has a term to lead the state in a post-Roe America. 

Roger George, the campaign manager for 4th Congressional District Republican candidate Zach Nunn, was in attendance at the GOP watch party in Des Moines. 

“I wasn’t really too satisfied with the way the state was going when she first got in, but when COVID hit and she took direction absolutely that was the right way to go,” he said. 

Jim Vorwey, a voter from Urbandale, came to Des Moines to celebrate with conservatives. He said preventing abortion was his number one issue, and that on a national level he is concerned about the southern border, inflation, and government aid. Vorwey said he paid off his student loans, and shouldnt’ be responsible for someone else’s. 

“Whatever the government is going to give you, it’s going to come out of somebody else’s pocket,” Vorwey said.

Isabelle Foland contributed to this report.