Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford says he’s struck by the increase in voter participation in Tuesday’s election — compared to other non-presidential elections.
“If Iowa is representative of the nation as a whole, we had people much more engaged and actively involved in this particular election,” Goldford says. “It does seem to be if not a tsunami for the Democrats, it does seem to be a Democratic wave that has washed through Iowa to some extent.”
Goldford cites the change in Iowa’s congressional delegation — switching from four Republicans and one Democrat to three Democrats and two Republicans. In the governor’s race, Goldford has argued that six urban Iowa counties were crucial to Democratic victory — Polk, Linn, Scott, Johnson, Black Hawk and Dubuque Goldford says his analysis shows Chet Culver did slightly better than Tom Vilsack did in 1998 in those six counties.
Goldford says Democratic margins in those six counties also played a huge role in congressional victories for Democrats. Congressman Leonard Boswell won the third district because of Polk County according to Goldford, who also credits the huge edge Democrat Dave Loebsack rolled up in Johnson County with leading to Loebsack’s defeat of 30-year-incumbent Republican Jim Leach.
Goldford says Leach’s defeat may be a harbinger of the end for so-called “moderate” Republicans who attract votes from Democrats. Goldford says the political parties may be realigning so that Democrats become more liberal and Republicans become more conservative. “There’s no room for moderates on either side — that’s a little overstated at this point,” Goldford says. “But that’s what happened to Mr. Leach, I believe.”