Gazette Daily News Briefing, November 9

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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, November 9.

The weather on Wednesday will be warmer. According to the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 72 degrees. On Wednesday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 64 degrees. It will be windy, with a wind of 10 to 15 mph gusting as high as 20 mph during the day, and the wind intensity increasing Wednesday evening.

Election night in Iowa went decidedly in favor of Republicans, further increasing their control over politics in the state. There are full results at thegazette.com, but if you want a summary, Republicans won nearly every available position, except for some county level positions in urban counties.

By a large margin, incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds was chosen by Iowans to serve another four years.

Reynolds, the Republican incumbent who has been Iowa’s governor since 2017 and the state’s first female governor, was reelected Tuesday over Democrat Deidre DeJear.

“From the very beginning, this campaign has been about Iowa. It’s been about you. Because it’s the people of Iowa who make this state what it is: hardworking, innovative, committed to each other,” Reynolds said Tuesday night from Iowa Republicans’ campaign headquarters in downtown Des Moines.

One big-ticket agenda item Reynolds has not achieved is her proposal to shift $55 million in taxpayer funding from public schools to private school tuition assistance. This will likely be one of the big items on her agenda in 2023. Also likely to be make appearances will be further restrictions on abortions and cuts to taxes.

“Our message for you tonight is this: We are not stopping. We are not slowing down. I am so excited to get back to work and to lay out a bold, conservative agenda and to follow through on what we say we are going to do,” she said. “It is going to be an agenda where you keep more of your money, where our schools are thriving and all parents have choice.”

Republicans swept most of Iowa's statewide offices Tuesday to add to their full control of the governor's office and Iowa Legislature, unseating the longest-serving state attorney general and state treasurer in U.S. history.

That’s according to unofficial election results from 97 of 99 Iowa counties. The only possible exception was the race for State Auditor, where Democratic incumbent Rob Sand was narrowly leading Wednesday morning — but with recounts ordered for all races in Warren and Des Moines counties.

Republicans defending their seats for the U.S. House and Senate also won reelection Tuesday. Chuck Grassley will be 95 by the time he would hypothetically have to run for re-election again. Cindy Axne, the sole Democrat in the U.S. Congressional Delegation, appears to be losing her seat by a margin of 2,000 votes, but the race remains too close to call.

Voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday further bolstering gun rights in the state, enshrining into the state constitution language that would declare Iowans’ right to gun ownership in strong legal terms.

With most Iowa precinct reporting late Tuesday, the measure was passing by nearly 66 percent approval with over 700,000 Iowans voting in favor.

Iowa voters were asked to add language to the Iowa Constitution that states it is a “fundamental individual right” to keep and bear arms, and that any restraint on that right is invalid unless it meets the stringent demands of “strict scrutiny” in court.

The language sets a high legal bar and goes beyond protections contained in the Second Amendment by dictating the level of judicial review Iowa courts must apply when considering whether gun restrictions in the state are permissible. In layman’s terms, gun control legislation is now very difficult to pass in Iowa.

Nationally the balance of power remains too close to call as well. However, there are some indications that gains expected by Republicans in a midterm election will fall short of a wave election where a party out of power takes strong control. The U.S. House is still predicted to switch to Republican control, but the margins will be razor thin, and the U.S. Senate may stay, narrowly, under the control of the Democrats.

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