Iowa Politics

Iowa State Politics

General Overview of Iowa’s Politics

  • The politics and the political parties existing in the state of Iowa are organizations pertaining to different political ideologies and have received a minimum of two percent of the total votes cast for the President or the Governor of the state. The major political parties in the state of Iowa are The Republican Party and The Democratic Party.

  • Other parties like the Iowa Green Party or the Libertarian Party have come and gone and acquired a place for their candidates in ballots but otherwise, have nothing substantial to be credited for. The politics of Iowa play a huge role in the Presidential elections and have a huge impact on the national politics.

  •  Though some constituencies in Iowa’s politics are Republican in nature, a broader overview of the state shows that it has a heavy dominant inclination towards Democratic parties. The 2006 General elections are a good example to consider, as in that year, the Democrats won a majority in both houses of the Iowa General Assembly.

Presidential Assemblies

  • Another reason behind the extensive political importance enjoyed by the state of Iowa is the Presidential Assemblies held here. Before every Presidential election, the first of the many Presidential caucuses is held in Iowa.

  •  It is in fact the time, when two major front runners for the big jobs are chosen by the public. This practice is different from other caucuses as, in the state of Iowa, it is a practice for the people to meet in public places and choose their representatives together publicly. In most of the other states on the other hand this is done via a secret ballot.

  • The voters in Iowa thus enjoy a lot of leverage over other states as Iowa gets a lot of local and international attention. Many of the people attempting to become the front runners travel and try to connect with people all over the 99 counties in the state of Iowa.

Political History of Iowa

  • Along with the modern political scenario, one should also be aware of the historical political significance attached to the state of Iowa. Iowa’s politics and history together show Iowa to be one of the first and most culturally and racially liberal states in America.

  •  Iowa was one of the first states to pass a law against any sort of racial discrimination in the 19th century. This rule was highly concentrated in the field of education but its complete application was not possible till the 20th century.

  • Iowa had abolished slavery involving not just Afro-Americans but any sort of human being whatsoever, way back in 1839, which is roughly 26 years before the end of Civil War. It also did not ban inter race marriages and had removed many barriers regarding the same in 1851.

  • Segregation in schools on the basis of race too, was disallowed in the state of Iowa before many of the other states of America. The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 covered all the loop holes left by the predecessors regarding any sort of racial discrimination. This very well proves the democratic nature harbored by the people of Iowa and speaks volumes of their historical and political achievements.

  •  The state of Iowa was also a pioneer when it came to rights for women though women got the right to vote much later in the 1920s. An example of their political broad mindedness is The University of Iowa which started granting admissions to women way back in 1847 making it the first public university in the US to do so. They were also the first state in America to let women practice Law as their profession.

Recent Political Happenings

  • Another example pertaining to the recent time range is the issue of same sex marriage. Many of the states are undecided on this issue as it has proved to be a religiously sensitive topic.

  • The Iowa Supreme Court in 2009 deemed the law which stated same sex marriage as forbidden, to be unconstitutional. Iowa was recognized as the first state in the Midwest region and the third in US to abolish such a law and legalize same sex marriages.

Presidential Elections Results

Year Republican Democratic
2008 44.74% 677,508 54.04% 818,240
2004 49.92% 751,957 49.28% 741,898
2000 48.22% 634,373 48.60% 638,517
1996 39.92% 492,644 50.31% 620,258
1992 37.33% 504,890 43.35% 586,353
1988 44.8% 545,355 55.1% 670,557
1984 53.32% 703,088 45.97% 605,620

List of Governors of Iowa

S.No. Name Took Office Left Office Party Lt. Governor Term
1 Ansel Briggs December 3, 1846 December 4, 1850 Democratic vacant 1
2 Stephen P. Hempstead December 4, 1850 December 9, 1854 Democratic vacant 2
3 James W. Grimes December 9, 1854 January 13, 1858 Whig vacant 3
4 Ralph P. Lowe January 13, 1858 January 11, 1860 Republican Oran Faville 4
5 Samuel J. Kirkwood January 11, 1860 January 14, 1864 Republican Nicholas J. Rusch 5
John R. Needham 6
6 William M. Stone January 14, 1864 January 16, 1868 Republican Enoch W. Eastman 7
Benjamin F. Gue 8
7 Samuel Merrill January 16, 1868 January 11, 1872 Republican John Scott 9
Madison Miner Walden 10
Henry C. Bulis
8 Cyrus C. Carpenter January 11, 1872 January 13, 1876 Republican Henry C. Bulis 11
Joseph Dysart 12
9 Samuel J. Kirkwood January 13, 1876 February 1, 1877 Republican Joshua G. Newbold 13
10 Joshua G. Newbold February 1, 1877 January 17, 1878 Republican vacant
11 John H. Gear January 17, 1878 January 12, 1882 Republican Frank T. Campbell 14
15
12 Buren R. Sherman January 12, 1882 January 14, 1886 Republican Orlando H. Manning 16
17
13 William Larrabee January 14, 1886 February 27, 1890 Republican John A.T. Hull 18
19
14 Horace Boies February 27, 1890 January 11, 1894 Democratic Alfred N. Poyneer 20
Samuel L. Bestow 21
15 Frank D. Jackson January 11, 1894 January 16, 1896 Republican Warren S. Dungan 22
16 Francis M. Drake January 16, 1896 January 13, 1898 Republican Matt Parrott 23
17 Leslie M. Shaw January 13, 1898 January 16, 1902 Republican James C. Milliman 24
25
18 Albert B. Cummins January 16, 1902 November 24, 1908 Republican John Herriott 26
27
Warren Garst 28
19 Warren Garst November 24, 1908 January 14, 1909 Republican vacant
20 Beryl F. Carroll January 14, 1909 January 16, 1913 Republican George W. Clarke 29
30
21 George W. Clarke January 16, 1913 January 11, 1917 Republican William L. Harding 31
32
22 William L. Harding January 11, 1917 January 13, 1921 Republican Ernest Robert Moore 33
34
23 N. E. Kendall January 13, 1921 January 15, 1925 Republican John Hammill 35
36
24 John Hammill January 15, 1925 January 15, 1931 Republican Clem F. Kimball 37
38
Arch W. McFarlane 39
25 Daniel Webster Turner January 15, 1931 January 12, 1933 Republican Arch W. McFarlane 40
26 Clyde L. Herring January 12, 1933 January 14, 1937 Democratic Nelson G. Kraschel 41
42
27 Nelson G. Kraschel January 14, 1937 January 12, 1939 Democratic John K. Valentine 43
28 George A. Wilson January 12, 1939 January 14, 1943 Republican Bourke B. Hickenlooper 44
45
29 Bourke B. Hickenlooper January 14, 1943 January 11, 1945 Republican Robert D. Blue 46
30 Robert D. Blue January 11, 1945 January 13, 1949 Republican Kenneth A. Evans 47
48
31 William S. Beardsley January 13, 1949 November 21, 1954 Republican Kenneth A. Evans 49
William H. Nicholas 50
Leo Elthon 51
32 Leo Elthon November 22, 1954 January 13, 1955 Republican vacant
33 Leo A. Hoegh January 13, 1955 January 17, 1957 Republican Leo Elthon 52
34 Herschel C. Loveless January 17, 1957 January 17, 1961 Democratic William H. Nicholas 53
Edward J. McManus 54
35 Norman A. Erbe January 12, 1961 January 17, 1963 Republican W. L. Moody 55
36 Harold E. Hughes January 17, 1963 January 1, 1969 Democratic W. L. Moody 56
Robert D. Fulton 57
37 Robert D. Fulton January 1, 1969 January 16, 1969 Democratic vacant
38 Robert D. Ray January 16, 1969 January 14, 1983 Republican Roger Jepsen 58
59
Arthur A. Neu 60
Terry E. Branstad 61
62
39 Terry E. Branstad January 14, 1983 January 15, 1999 Republican Robert T. Anderson 63
Jo Ann Zimmerman 64
Joy Corning 65
66
40 Tom Vilsack January 15, 1999 January 12, 2007 Democratic Sally Pederson 67
68
41 Chet Culver January 12, 2007 Incumbent Democratic Patty Judge 69

Other High Offices Held

Name Gubernatorial Term U.S. Congress Other Offices Held
House Senate
Robert Lucas 1838–1841 (territorial)     Governor of Ohio
James W. Grimes 1854–1858   S  
Samuel J. Kirkwood 1860–1864   S* U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Cyrus C. Carpenter 1872–1876 H    
John H. Gear 1878–1881 H S  
Leslie M. Shaw 1898–1902     U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Albert B. Cummins 1902–1908   S* President pro tempore of the Senate
N. E. Kendall 1921–1925 H    
Clyde L. Herring 1933–1937   S  
George A. Wilson 1939–1943   S  
Bourke B. Hickenlooper 1943–1945   S  
Harold E. Hughes 1963–1969   S*  
Tom Vilsack 1999–2007     U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Living Former Governors

Name Gubernatorial Term Date of Birth
Robert D. Fulton 1969 May 13, 1929 (1929-05-13) (age 81)
Robert D. Ray 1969–1983 September 26, 1928 (1928-09-26) (age 81)
Terry E. Branstad 1983–1999 November 17, 1946 (1946-11-17) (age 63)
Tom Vilsack 1999–2007 December 13, 1950 (1950-12-13) (age 59)

List of United States Senators From Iowa

Class II

Senator Party Took Office Left Office Reason
George W. Jones Democratic December 7, 1848 March 4, 1859 Lost renomination
James W. Grimes Republican March 4, 1859 December 6, 1869 Resigned
James B. Howell Republican January 18, 1870 March 4, 1871 Retired
George G. Wright Republican March 4, 1871 March 4, 1877 Retired
Samuel J. Kirkwood Republican March 4, 1877 March 7, 1881 Resigned
James W. McDill Republican March 8, 1881 March 4, 1883 Retired
James F. Wilson Republican March 4, 1883 March 4, 1895 Retired
John H. Gear Republican March 4, 1895 July 14, 1900 Died
Jonathan P. Dolliver Republican August 22, 1900 October 15, 1910 Died
Lafayette Young Republican November 12, 1910 April 11, 1911 Lost special election
William S. Kenyon Republican April 12, 1911 February 24, 1922 Resigned
Charles A. Rawson Republican February 24, 1922 December 1, 1922 Retired
Smith W. Brookhart Republican November 7, 1922 April 12, 1926 Election overturned by Senate
Daniel F. Steck Democratic April 12, 1926 March 4, 1931 Lost re-election
Lester J. Dickinson Republican March 4, 1931 January 3, 1937 Lost re-election
Clyde L. Herring Democratic January 15, 1937 January 3, 1943 Lost re-election
George A. Wilson Republican January 14, 1943 January 3, 1949 Lost re-election
Guy Gillette Democratic January 3, 1949 January 3, 1955 Lost re-election
Thomas E. Martin Republican January 3, 1955 January 3, 1961 Retired
Jack Miller Republican January 3, 1961 January 3, 1973 Lost re-election
Richard C. Clark Democratic January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979 Lost re-election
Roger Jepsen Republican January 3, 1979 January 3, 1985 Lost re-election
Tom Harkin Democratic January 3, 1985 Incumbent  

Class III

Senator Party Took Office Left Office Reason Notes/other offices
Augustus C. Dodge Democratic December 7, 1848 February 22, 1855 Resigned Minister to Spain (1855–1859)
James Harlan Free Soil March 4, 1855 May 15, 1865 Resigned Secretary of the Interior (1865–1866)
Republican
Samuel J. Kirkwood Republican January 13, 1866 March 4, 1867   Secretary of the Interior (1881–1882)
Governor of Iowa (1860–1864; 1876–1877)
Also served in Iowa's class II seat
James Harlan Republican March 4, 1867 March 4, 1873   Secretary of the Interior (1865–1866)
William B. Allison Republican March 4, 1873 August 4, 1908 Died  
Albert B. Cummins Republican November 24, 1908 July 30, 1926 Died Governor of Iowa (1902–1908)
President pro tempore (1919–1925)
David W. Stewart Republican August 7, 1926 March 4, 1927 Retired  
Smith W. Brookhart Republican March 4, 1927 March 4, 1933 Lost renomination and re-election Also served in Iowa's class II seat
Richard L. Murphy Democratic March 4, 1933 July 16, 1936 Died  
Guy Gillette Democratic November 3, 1936 January 3, 1945 Lost re-election Also served in Iowa's class II seat
Bourke B. Hickenlooper Republican January 3, 1945 January 3, 1969 Retired Lieutenant Governor of Iowa (1939–1942)
Governor of Iowa (1943–1944)
Harold Hughes Democratic January 3, 1969 January 3, 1975 Retired Governor of Iowa (1963–1968)
John Culver Democratic January 3, 1975 January 3, 1981 Lost re-election  
Chuck Grassley Republican January 3, 1981 Incumbent