Statehouse Democrats are celebrating more than just a victory in the governor’s race. Democrats claimed a majority of seats in both the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House in Tuesday’s election.
The exact margin is uncertain due to recounts and close tallies in a few races, but Republican legislative leaders conceded late Tuesday that Democrats would control the legislature’s debate agenda for the next two years. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs was a key architect of his party’s victories in state senate races. “I think the voters liked our message better than the Republican message,” Gronstal told Radio Iowa late Tuesday evening.
House Democratic Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque called it a “good night” for Democrats. “It’s the best night we’ve had in 42 years — electing a Democratic governor, gaining control of the Iowa House, the Iowa Senate,” Murphy told Radio Iowa in the early morning hours.
House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, spoke with Radio Iowa just after midnight. “I think we got caught up in a wave tonight,” Rants said. “Republicans across the country seem to be in trouble.”
The latest tallies indicate Democrats will hold at least 28 of the 50 seats in the Iowa Senate and 54 of the 100 seats in the Iowa House.