New numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office show Iowa Republicans outnumbering Democrats by almost 4,000 voters. This is the first time in almost six years that the Iowa GOP has held a voter registration edge. There are now 611,990 registered Republicans in Iowa, compared to 607,999 Democrats. Independents still outnumber both parties, with 678,704.
These numbers also bring excellent news for Republican Congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King. Latham holds a voter registration edge of almost 10,000 over Leonard Boswell in the 3rd Congressional District. The 4th District, where King faces a challenge from former First Lady Christie Vilsack, has 46,453 more Republicans than Democrats. Additionally, Republicans outnumber independents in the 4th District by 1,789. Iowa Democrats maintain significant leads in congressional districts 1 and 2.
May 2006 was the last month where Iowa Republicans held a statewide voter registration edge over Democrats. As voters turned against the Bush White House, Iowa Democrats built a significant advantage during the lead-up and immediate aftermath of the 2008 presidential election. Their margin topped at more than 111,000 in March 2009.
During the next 13 months, Iowa Democrats’ edge remained above 100,000. Republicans saw significant gains in June 2010, due in large part to Terry Branstad’s reemergence on the political scene and his hotly contested gubernatorial primary with Bob Vander Plaats. The June 2010 numbers showed Republicans trailing Democrats by 93,461. By July 1, 2010, the margin dropped to only 46,104.
These continued gains by Republicans are due to a variety of other factors. Between 2008-10, Democrats controlled the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Oval Office. They also held both the Iowa Senate and House, plus the governor’s office. Unemployment was skyrocketing and the economy was in dire straits. Distaste for the Democrats’ policies turned many Iowans against them.
Some credit must also go to former Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn and the effort by the Republicans’ Victory operation of 2010. The 2012 Iowa Caucuses also played a significant role in bringing new people to the party. Ron Paul’s campaign was likely the most successful in that regard.
“The failed policies of the Obama presidency and the Democrats have opened the eyes of many voters to the stark contrasts between the Republican Party ideals of lower taxes, less government intrusion, and the protection of individual liberty,” said Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker. “More than 1 in 10 Democrats have fled the Iowa Democratic Party since 2009, and today for the first time in years, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats. Iowa Republicans will continue to work hard to promote the ideals of less government and more freedom, and earn the support of even more Iowans this November.”
Here are the congressional district breakdowns of registered voters in Iowa:
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