Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson retains 2nd District seat, Liz Mathis concedes

Hinson beat out Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis after a contentious midterm season came to an end Tuesday night.


Ayrton Breckenridge

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, speaks to reporters during a watch party for the 2022 Iowa midterm elections at Spare Time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Hinson is up for reelection for her seat in the house against state Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha.

Liam Halawith, Politics Reporter

Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, the incumbent in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, took the stage in Cedar Rapids late Tuesday to proclaim victory. Her opponent, Democrat Liz Mathis, conceded shortly after in Marion, Iowa.

The Associated Press called the race at 12:12 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

The vote tallies as of 12:15 a.m. on Nov. 9 have Hinson leading with 167,038 votes. Mathis’ tally stood at 136,072 with 21 of the 22 2nd District counties reporting.

Linn County has not fully reported the vote totals as of 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday, and the Iowa Secretary of State’s unofficial election result website reported that Linn County results were last updated at midnight.

“It was very clear tonight that Iowans embraced the Iowa way and rejected the D.C. way”

Hinson rallied supporters after announcing her victory in the 2nd District shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. Hinson pointed toward a “red wave” that hit Iowa on Tuesday, with sweeping wins for Iowa Republicans taking the Governor’s seat, the U.S. Senate seat and several congressional seats. 

“Thank you all so much for helping us cross this finish line from those of you who I’ve known for years,” Hinson said. “To some of you who I’ve just met on this campaign and you’ve been out there helping be such a critical part of getting us across this finish line.”

Hinson pointed to her brand as a conservative mom — who drives a minivan — as a major part of her campaign that voters resonated with. 

“I ran for Congress as a mom to fight for my kids and fight for my family so that we can leave the next generation an America that’s better than one my generation found,” Hinson said. “And I ran also because first and foremost I love Iowa.” 

Hinson espoused her love for the state she represents having grown up in Des Moines and currently living in Marion. 

“I was born and raised here and I am choosing to raise my family here,” Hinson said. “And I think it’s really important that we continue to believe in our state and we continue to believe in our people right.” 

Hinson ended her speech pointing towards her opposition to Democratic policies and control of the federal government. 

“There are a lot of people who are hell-bent on transforming our country taking our country in the wrong direction,” Hinson said. “The list of failures from Pelosi and Biden goes on and on. But tonight Iowa sent a clear message. We are not going to stand for this craziness being pushed by Nancy Pelosi and those who are committed to doubling down on the DC way.” 

Mathis concedes before Associated Press calls the race

In an emailed press release to the press, Mathis announced she conceded her contest of the election results for the 2nd Congressional District race.

“I’m proud of the campaign we built together and grateful for the hard work our volunteers and team have put in over the last 14 months,” Mathis said in a statement to reporters. “Like Iowa voters who care about preserving Social Security and protecting reproductive rights, I am disappointed that we weren’t able to overcome the Republican Midterm momentum and win back this U.S. Congressional seat. The Iowa voters have spoken and I congratulate Rep. Hinson on her re-election.”

Mathis rallied her supporters after calling Hinson to concede the race late Tuesday evening. Mathis thanked her supporters and campaign staff for their dedication to supporting her election bid.

“So after a year and a half of campaigning, and 10s of 1000s of doors knocked … $4 million raised dozens of meet and greets and county fairs and pancake breakfasts and steak fries,” Mathis said. “ I could not be more proud of the campaign that we have built together.”

Mathis refocused her supporters on what they fought for during her campaign.

“Our campaign has always been about Iowans. It was about the stories of struggle and perseverance that I reported on for nearly 30 years as a reporter,” Mathis said. “It was about the kids and families that I’ve met who are struggling to get mental health care and some basic needs. It’s about the older couple that I met while I was door-knocking a few years ago who were trying to figure out just how to afford medication.”

Mathis rallied supporters, pointing towards a red wave that swept Iowa in tonight’s election, as another fight to win.

“We’re dealing with some deep wounds in our country right now but I believe that healing starts here with us,” Mathis said. “It starts with bringing our communities together and finding places where we can agree where we can get good things done. We know how to do that here in Iowa. And I look forward to continue to do that hard work with all of you — So take tonight, you’ve earned it — tomorrow we’ll get back to work.”

After a not-so-certain campaign season, Hinson leads the second district race

The Cook Political rating slated the district as Republican-leaning. Politico rated the district as leaning Republican, with Mathis’ gaining a lead in polls close to the midterm.

The race has switched hands between Republicans and Democrats in the past few election cycles. 

Hinson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020 among several other Republicans taking Iowa seats from current Democratic incumbents or retiring incumbents. Hinson defeated the one-term Democratic incumbent former Rep. Abby Finkenauer in 2020, beating Finkenauer with Hinson taking 51.25 percent of the vote and Finkenauer at 48.65 percent of the vote. 

Hinson led Mathis in fundraising, raising almost double the amount at $6,695,083, according to Mathis fell behind with $3,963,694 raised during the campaign season. Hinson also had $1,234,256 in outside spending, mainly on ad buys by the Congressional Leadership Fund run by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., aligned with House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Cali. 

Hinson has risen in the ranks of the U.S. House Republicans and serves on the House Appropriations Committee, House Budget committee, as well as the subcommittee on Homeland Security and the subcommittee Transportation, and the Housing and Urban Development agencies — both of which are part of the appropriations committee. 

Hinson campaigned on a few popular conservative ideas during this election cycle. She also emphasized parental rights in education — a prevalent issue in Iowa — being tough on crime, immigration, and inflation in her campaign. 

Hinson brands herself as a conservative mom and has dug into that brand to push for parental rights. She has introduced the Parental Bill of Rights Act to solidify conservative talking points on the subject. The legislation directs schools to post their curriculum for K-12 programs, to inform parents of their rights, and gives parents the right to review the school’s curriculum and budget. 

Hinson has repeatedly criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of what she calls a “crisis at the border.” Hinson has criticized Biden for the massive amount of migrants and drugs that are coming across the U.S. Southern Border — which is up exponentially from President Trump’s administration. 

However, since Trump’s administration, the U.S. has opened its borders again after the border was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hinson has also criticized Biden on his response to high inflation in the U.S. Inflation hit a 40-year-high in June — where experts say it peaked. However, inflation has been rising worldwide and Democrats aren’t entirely to blame, Politifact Iowa reported. 

Before being elected to represent Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, Hinson served in the Iowa House of Representatives where she represented Iowa’s 67th District in Linn County. In 2016, Hinson defeated  Democrat Mark Seidl, 62.5 percent to 37.5 percent, and was reelected in 2018.

Before her time in the Iowa House, Hinson was a news reporter at KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. She has since called herself  a “recovering journalist.”

Hinson was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in June. 

“Ashley Hinson is a strong voice for the people of Iowa in Congress. The proud mother of two sons, Ashley is a Champion for the American Family,” Trump said in a statement. “She is fighting hard to Secure our Border, Cut Taxes, Reduce Burdensome Regulations, Promote American Agriculture, and Stop Joe Biden’s War on American Energy. Ashley Hinson is a fierce advocate for our America First agenda, and she has my Complete and Total Endorsement for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District!”