Iowa’s third district congressional race among 37 most competitive races in country

DES MOINES — Both political parties have been listing Iowa’s third congressional district race as among the three dozen that could decide which party wins a majority in the U.S. House. 

Congresswoman Cindy Axne of West Des Moines narrowly won her previous races in 2018 and 2020 and she’s been telling her fellow Democrats 2022 will be the same. “We win these votes in Iowa on the margins, folks,” Axne said earlier this month. Challenger Zach Nunn has been telling his fellow Republicans the race has national implications. “It is about holding Biden and Pelosi accountable,” Nunn said.

Nunn has emphasized the state budgets and the tax cuts he’s voted for as a member of the Iowa legislature.  “We’re going to change the course of the tax-and-spend Washington, D.C., starting right here in Iowa,” Nunn says.

Axne has emphasized the votes she’s taken in congress, like her support of increased spending on infrastructure, including broadband and computer chip factories.  “Put us in a new trajectory in this country,” Axne says, “bringing new jobs back to this country.”

The two candidates have had a sharp disagreement over abortion. Axne has been criticizing Nunn’s response during a debate in May with his Republican Primary competitors, when Nunn raised his hand in support of banning all abortions, without exceptions. “Women’s reproductive health decisions should be made between themselves, their family and their doctor,” Axne said.

Nunn has emphasized his votes in the state legislature for abortion restrictions that included exceptions. And Nunn has suggested the U.S. Supreme Court has left the issue to the states, not congress, to decide. “This is unfortunately one of the only things the Democrats in D.C. are trying to run on,” Nunn said.

Iowa’s new third congressional district covers 21 counties. It includes the cities of Jefferson and Des Moines at the top. It stairsteps down to Atlantic and Clarinda on the southwest, then goes all the way over to Ottumwa 

on the district’s southeast side.