Iowa Democrats say motivating inactive voters key to 2024 election

DES MOINES — Nearly 200,000 registered Democrats did not vote in 2022 and Iowa Democratic Party leaders say they’re focused on getting that group to vote in 2024.

Rob Johnson, a Baptist minister from Des Moines, opened the party’s annual fall fundraiser this past weekend by acknowledging Democrats in Iowa have taken some hits at the ballot box, but he said the party is ready to “bounce back.”

“Do I have a room that believes that? Do I have a room that wants to win? Do I have a room that knows we will take Iowa back?” Johnson asked, to shouts pf affirmation and cheers.

Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart said Republican lawmakers in Iowa have gone too far by enacting abortion restrictions and a dramatic increase in taxpayer funding of private schools. “I think this is such an important point because it don’t just ring true with Democrats,” Hart said. “We need to elect more Democrats in Iowa so that we can bring balance back to the state of Iowa and end this extreme Republican agenda that has a stronghold on the state.”

Jennifer Konfrst, the Democratic leader in the Iowa House, said the political pendulum in Iowa has swung too far to the right. “When we get tens of thousands of Democrats who didn’t vote in ’22 to vote in ’24, my friends we are going to shock the hell out of those Republicans and we’re going to bring balance back to this state,” Konfrst said.

Pam Jochum is the Democratic leader in the Iowa Senate where Democrats occupy just 16 of the 50 seats. Jochum said it took six years for Democrats to fall to that low point and her goal is to chip away and regain the majority for Democrats in six years. “We can do this, Iowa Democrats, because we have 200,000 inactive Democrats right now in this state. They are registered to vote, but they are not plugged in and they are not voting,” Jochum said. “There is no off-year in politics anymore. Our work right now is to plug those inactive Democrats back in.”

State Auditor Rob Sand, the only Democrat in statewide elected office, says Democrats in Iowa are “far better than our record looks” and he cited Democrat Cindy Axne’s loss to Republican Zach Nunn in Iowa’s third congressional distract. “In 2022, we lost the closest defense for a congressional seat in the entire country — 2500 votes. That was it,” Sand said. “…This is not a state that is allergic to voting for Democrats.”

As of November 1, Republicans hold a 116,000 active voter registration advantage over Democrats, but nearly 200,000 Democrats have been moved to inactive status because they did not vote in the 2022 election.