For the first time in 66 years, every member of Iowa’s federal delegation in D.C. will be a Republican when congress convenes in January. Christina Bohannan is the Democrat in Iowa’s first congressional district who lost to Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
“There’s going to have to be a lot of soul searching about where the Democrats invest,” Bohannan said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “My opinion is that we have for some time now in the national Democratic Party focused way too much on the coasts and the big cities and way too little on the Midwest, small towns and rural counties like we have in Iowa.”
In 2020, Bohannan, a University of Iowa law professor, was elected to a two-year term in the state legislature that will end in early January. Bohannan said running for federal office is far different and Democratic candidates for congress in Iowa were at a competitive disadvantage because they were “massively out-spent” by Republicans and their allies.
“We did not have any significant investment from the national Democrats — not in the senate race, not in the congressional races except some for Cindy Axne and, in my opinion, not enough for her either,” Bohannan said, “and we saw the results.”
Congresswoman Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, lost to Republican Zach Nunn by seven-tenths of a percent. Bohannan lost to Miller-Meeks by seven points. Democrat Liz Mathis lost to Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson by 18 points.
Bohannan said President Biden’s low approval rating in Iowa and concerns about inflation were a factor in those losses, but she said Democrats facing the same headwinds won in other states because those candidates had party resources to be competitive.
“As a party, that is something that we’re really going to have to think about,” Bohannan said.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds scored a 20 point victory this week and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley beat Democrat Mike Franken by 12%. In addition to victories in all four congressional races, Republicans gained a super majority of 34 seats in the Iowa Senate and added to the GOP majority in the Iowa House.
The worst enemy for Iowa Democrats in the future will be a “defeatist attitude,” according to Bohannan.
“We have to recognize we can win in Iowa,” Bohannan said. “We have to be more organized and assertive than we’ve been in the past.”
Bohannan said she has no regrets about running for congress. She described it as “an incredible experience.”
“I also gained a lot of insight about Iowans,” Bohannan said. “People are very tired of the fighting. They really don’t like all of the anger. They want to get back to being able to talk with one another regardless of political party, but there are people, groups, parties in this country who are trying to divide people because they think that serves their political interest to gain power.”
Bohannan said Democrats need to “not take the bait” and “disagree without being disagreeable.”