Iowa’s Republican-led congressional delegation stands to lose power as control shifts to Democrats in Washington, D.C.

Source: By Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2021

Iowa’s Republican-led congressional delegation stands to lose influence in Washington, D.C. as Democrats appear poised to gain control of the Senate following a pair of wins in Georgia run-off elections Wednesday.

Republicans currently hold five of Iowa’s six seats in Congress after gaining ground in the 2020 elections. Now, they will face a White House, U.S. House of Representatives and a U.S. Senate controlled by Democrats.

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, who was re-elected to a second term in November, is the state’s only Democrat in Congress, though Democrat Rita Hart has appealed the results of the election in Iowa’s 2nd District that showed Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks as the winner by just six votes.

Iowa’s senior senator, Chuck Grassley, is currently the president pro tempore of the Senate and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee — positions he now stands to lose as he moves into the Senate minority.

Grassley and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst have enjoyed the affections of outgoing Republican President Donald Trump, with whom they often had a direct line of communication.

“Nobody called me more on ethanol than Joni and Chuck,” Trump said during an October 2020 rally in Des Moines. “In fact, I used to duck their calls. ‘Tell them I’m not in! Just tell them I’m not. I can’t take it anymore Joni!’ That’s what a good senator is.”

During that same speech, Trump warned that a Joe Biden administration would be terrible for Iowa agriculture and other important policies to the state.

However, President-elect Biden has nominated former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to lead the USDA as agriculture secretary — a move that ensures Iowa’s agriculture interests would be well considered by the administration if Vilsack is confirmed.

But Biden may not hold the same rosy view of Iowa as Trump. Trump rose through the ranks to become a legitimate presidential contender during the 2016 Iowa caucus cycle, and he regularly said how much he loved Iowa while visiting the state in the years after. Biden competed heavily in Iowa only to come in fourth during his 2020 bid.

Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.