Photo courtesy of The U.S. Court of Appeals
BY SABINA IDRIZ
Iowa’s gubernatorial race is nearing the finish line as voters are preparing to hit the ballots on Nov. 6. Gov. Kim Reynolds is hoping to serve another term, with two major candidates opposing her.
Reynolds, a member of the Republican party, was Lieutenant Governor before she took over for Terry Branstad. Branstad left after 22 years as governor to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, appointed by President Trump. Reynolds is Iowa’s first female governor and won this year’s Republican primary election. Her top priorities according to her campaign website are creating well-paying jobs, cutting taxes, investing in public schools and increasing opportunity in Iowa. Adam Gregg, current Lieutenant Governor and Drake Law School graduate, is running alongside her.
One of Reynolds opponents, democratic candidate Fred Hubbell, is focused on expanding access to health care, improving the state’s mental health services and expanding access to higher education opportunities. He is also an advocate for environmental sustainability efforts and served as chairman of the Iowa Power Fund from 2007 to 2011. Senator Rita Hart, member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Subcommittee, is running for Lieutenant Governor with him.
Meanwhile, history was made this June when Iowa’s first Libertarian primary election was held. Libertarian Gary Johnson won more than 2 percent of the state vote in the 2016 Presidential election which granted the Libertarians major party status, allowing them to hold their own primary.
Libertarian Jake Porter, a business consultant from Council Bluffs, is up for election. His top three priorities according to a Ballotpedia interview are restoring voting rights to offenders who have completed their sentences, reviewing and consolidating state boards and agencies and appointing a board to pardon individuals convicted of victimless crimes. Porter ran for Secretary of State in 2010 and again in 2014, but was not elected.
“I will be a Governor for all Iowans no matter party affiliation, religion, gender, race. I will put your economic rights and economic freedom as the center of all my decisions,” Porter said on his campaign website. His running mate is Lynne Gentry, a retired teacher and dedicated member of the Libertarian party.
Historically trends show that young adults are not very likely to cast a vote in elections. In Iowa, 18 to 24-year-olds had the lowest turnout rate by age group in 2014. However, many advocate that when young voters show enthusiasm similar to the 2008 presidential election, they can make a strong impact. Following the 2016 presidential election, there are differing opinions about whether the increased partisanship will increase voter turnout or deter young people. On Nov. 6 the results may be shown.