State Rep. Pat Murphy (D) and former state Sen. Staci Appel (D) couldn’t overcome a hostile political climate in their tight Iowa House races Tuesday.
Businessman Rob Blum (R) claimed a narrow victory over Murphy in the state’s 1st District.
“Pat Murphy found himself going up against a much larger Republican trend in the state, and he fell victim to that,” said Loras College poll director Christopher Budzisz. “The enthusiasm gap clearly was present in the First District. … And Blum ran an effective campaign. He had an active presence in all parts of the district. Murphy wasn’t as active. And part of politics is timing. The timing wasn’t there for Murphy.”
Blum was also helped by a string of high-profile Republicans who came to the district to campaign and fundraise with him. Murphy said he has no plans to run for office again. (Telegraph Herald)
Blum said he capitalized on anti-Washington sentiment. “I’m proud not to be a politician,” he said. “I’m a pragmatic businessman. I’m a problem-solver.” (Des Moines Register)
“I don’t have any regrets,” Murphy said of his run. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)
The loss carries an extra sting for Democrats, as it comes in the district vacated by failed Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley (D).
Meanwhile, former congressional staffer David Young (R) coasted to a 10-point win over Appel in the 3rd District, despite a campaign that struggled to raise money and was perceived by many as lackluster.
“I want you to know I take this awesome responsibility very seriously … and I will exercise good judgment every day,” Young said, while praising Appel’s patriotism. (Omaha World-Herald)
“While we don’t agree on everything, I will be his constituent and wish him well,” Appel said. (Des Moines Register)
Appel’s loss carries added frustration for Democrats, who had hoped for nearly two years to send the state’s first woman to Congress. Instead, they watched underdog Joni Ernst (R) claim that distinction in the Senate race.
Even Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) failed to pull away, beating ophthalmologist Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) by a scant 5 points in the 2nd District. (AP)