Democrats seek to leverage voter engagement for midterm elections


Iowa Democrats are looking to get voters to shore up a “blue wave” this midterm season.

Democratic State Rep. Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City, and State Senator Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, are campaigning to claim two Republican seats in Congress midterm, mobilizing Democratic voters.

Mathis and Bohannan co-hosted a fundraiser and campaign event on Saturday at the Sutliff Farm and Cider House in Lisbon, on the border between the 1st and 2nd districts.

Bohannan is running against Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the incumbent Republican, in Iowa’s newly redesigned 1st congressional district which covers Southeast Iowa including Iowa City and the Quad Cities.

Mathis faces Rep. Ashley Hinson, the Republican incumbent, in Iowa’s newly drawn 2nd congressional district, which covers northeast Iowa including Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

Democrats plan to use their lead in active registered voters to build on a win over Republican incumbents. In the 1st arrondissement, according to voter registration figures from the office of the Iowa Secretary of State, Democrats are led by 2,719 active registered voters. In the 2nd district, the Democrats are led by 805 active registered voters.

Mathis told fundraiser attendees that she realizes how important it is to vote in November for Democrats.

“We have to get out the vote,” Mathis said. “That’s what stands between Christina and me and winning. That’s the vote. We have to get the ball in the hope of getting the ball into the goal. That’s what we have to do” , said Mathis.

Mathis and Bohannan seek to take a grassroots, “boots on the ground” approach to getting the vote.

“I do everything I can to get out there and talk to people all over the district in rural, urban, small town, big city,” Bohannan said in an interview with The Iowan Daily “I think it’s really important that we do this, these issues are all interconnected.”

Mathis said she was looking to engage her rural constituents coming from rural Clinton County herself.

“I grew up in a small town in rural Iowa and so it’s really the ones who live in small towns in rural Iowa. It’s really about those who live in small communities,” Mathis said.

Democrats’ uphill battle to claim two of Iowa’s House seats

Bohannan and Mathis races should both stay in outgoing hands on september 3according to ballotpedia, with three top election forecasters saying Iowa’s first and second congressional districts are likely Republican.

However, Democrats are betting on increasing voter turnout, even after Republicans in Iowa pass the 2021 omnibus election bill that shortens early voting periods, mail-in voting periodsand adds criminal penalties for election officials.

RELATED: Iowa election officials navigate new GOP election law ahead of midterms

Bohannan said this election cycle could determine “the future of this nation,” with Politics predicting that the US House and Senate would come under Republican control after the midterms.

“Our country is on the line in 2022. The future of this nation is going to depend on who holds the United States House of Representatives and Senate and it’s going to come down to a handful of swing districts across the country,” Bohannan said.

Probabilities do not phase Mathis. She said after being elected to the Iowa Senate in a purple or swing district, she was confident she could win over voters.

“We know we can take what we’ve learned in this purple district I’m in as a state senator from Iowa and expand it. It means talking and messaging people about the things they want to hear solutions for, like the economy and inflation, reproductive rights, Medicare and Social Security,” Mathis told supporters.

Bohannan is also confident in her district, as her incumbent will not won by six votes in 2020.

The district was seated by longtime incumbent Dave Loebsack of Mt. Pleasant who decided to retire at the end of his last term. Miller-Meeks had raced against Loebsack three times before and lost to the hugely popular centrist starter.

“I’m running against Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks who won by six votes, so we absolutely can win this seat and we will win this seat,” Bohannan said.

“Ending the Culture Wars”

Bohannan joined many other Democrats at the event in calling for an end to extremism, calling for compromise and unity.

“As I’ve spoken to a lot of people, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, a lot of us agree on the things we need to do. The problem is that extreme politics gets in our way,” Bohannan said. “I always thought that this debate and this compromise made us better and stronger as a country. But what we have right now is not debate and compromise. It is extremism and chaos.

President Joe Biden addressed far-right extremism by a prime time Wednesday address.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very republic,” Biden said. “Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they have been cheated.

Bohannan also called for unity at the event and pledged to listen to the people of Iowa and their needs.

“It’s time for Democrats, Independents and Republicans – yes and Republicans – to come together and end this kind of political division and extremism that plagues our country,” Bohannan said.