Iowa has shifted from being a purple state to a deep red state.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa recently signed a controversial bill into law that restricts abortion rights. The bill, passed by the state’s GOP-dominated legislature, bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. This is one of many conservative victories for Iowa Republicans, who now have control of the governor’s office, both legislative chambers, and the entire congressional delegation.

Reynolds has also signed other conservative laws this year, such as ones that limit gender transition treatments for minors, allow taxpayer money to be used for private-school tuition, and loosen child labor rules. The goal of these actions is to turn Iowa into a bastion of conservatism.

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to sign controversial abortion ban

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has led the state GOP to numerous conservative legislative victories as the state trends red. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

“Americans are taking notice as states around the country are looking to Iowa as a beacon for freedom and opportunity,” the governor wrote in a statement this spring as she touted what she described as an “historic” legislative session.

In the past, Democrats were competitive in Iowa, holding the governor’s office for twelve consecutive years and one of the two U.S. Senate seats for three decades. However, Democrats have not won a gubernatorial election since 2006 or a Senate contest since 2008.

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In previous presidential elections, former President Barack Obama won Iowa with a significant margin in 2008 and by a smaller margin in 2012. However, former President Donald Trump achieved a nine-point victory in Iowa in 2016 and an eight-point victory in 2020.

Last November, the only remaining Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation lost the election.

Donald Trump rally in Iowa

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters before speaking at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on Nov. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

“There has been remarkable change in the political makeup of the state,” said Democratic consultant Jeff Link. He highlighted the significant shift in traditionally Democratic strongholds along the Mississippi River. These areas, known for their organized labor presence, have experienced the most substantial change.

Republican consultant David Kochel pointed out the migration of White working-class voters from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. This shift occurred as the Democratic Party became more progressive, leading to a stronger presence of White working-class voters within the Republican Party.

Kochel specifically mentioned Howard County in northeastern Iowa, noting that it had the largest swing from supporting Obama to supporting Trump in the entire country.

Iowa abortion bill protest

Iowa Democrat Jennifer Konfrst speaks to protesters rallying at the Iowa Capitol rotunda in opposition to the new ban on abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy introduced by Republican lawmakers in a special session on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hannah Fingerhut)

Democrats are hopeful that the new abortion law will aid their chances in the upcoming legislative and congressional elections in Iowa. However, Link believes that Iowa Democrats need to focus on increasing their voter registration numbers in order to have a significant impact. He stressed the importance of visiting all counties and truly listening to voters, rather than neglecting certain areas and adopting an ineffective strategy.

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And he urged that Democrats “need to not only travel to all the counties in the state, but we need to listen to voters in those places and not just write them off. I think that’s what’s happened from time to time, and it’s a strategy that’s a disaster.”

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