Nunn beats incumbent Axne as Republicans sweep Congressional races

Republican Zach Nunn unseated incumbent Democratic candidate Cindy Axne in a narrow victory, the Associated Press reported Tuesday afternoon.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Republican candidate for the U.S. House, Zach Nunn, speaks after winning election during a watch party for Iowa Republicans on Election Day at the Hilton Downtown in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Nunn defeated Cindy Axne.

Emily Nyberg and Ryan Hansen

Republican Zach Nunn defeated two-term incumbent Democrat Cindy Axne for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Nunn edged out Axne by just over 2,000 votes, according to unofficial results from the Iowa Secretary of State. It comes among a flurry of Republican victories for incumbents and challengers across the state.

The Associated Press called the race for Nunn at 2:20 p.m., finalizing the Republican sweep. Iowa will now send four Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 2004, when the state had five representatives. Iowa’s House delegation has not been singularly Republican since 1994.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Axne took the seat in 2018 after beating Republican opponent David Young. She again beat Young in 2020, but Nunn now takes over. He easily defeated challengers Gary Leffler and Nicole Hasso in the district’s June primary.

“Tonight, we are immediately underdogs,” Nunn said in June. “We recognize that we come into this race for the 3rd District behind the power curve, being the champion who’s got to fight for Iowa in a world that has become very difficult for families not just like ours, but families like yours.”

The three Republican incumbent U.S. Representatives all retained their seats in comfortable midterm victories on Tuesday.

In the 1st Congressional District, Mariannette Miller-Meeks put some distance between herself and challenger Christina Bohannon to claim a seven percentage point victory. Miller-Meeks famously edged out a victory in 2020 by merely six votes, one of the closest margins of victory in a race in U.S. history.

Of note, the two counties Secretary of State Paul Pate has ordered recounts in are within the 1st District.

In Iowa’s 2nd District, Ashley Hinson edged out challenger Liz Mathis for a nine percentage point victory. Mathis conceded before the Associated Press called the race just after midnight Wednesday.

Randy Feenstra claimed the 4th Congressional District, earning a second term over Ryan Melton by more than 100,000 votes. The race was the first of the four districts in the state to be called by AP.

Now, Iowa Republicans control all four House seats, both Senate seats, the Governor’s office, the Secretary of State’s office, the Office of the Treasurer, and the Attorney General’s office. 

Democratic incumbent Rob Sand led the race for state Auditor by only 3,000 votes over Todd Halbur as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Secretary of State office’s unofficial totals.