Meet the candidates: midterm edition


Tribune News Service

Gov. Kim Reynolds is up for re-election on Nov. 8. She has elicited many different opinions from Iowans during her time as governor due to her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and her stance on abortion.


A closer look at the politicians and policies on the ballot for Iowans on Nov. 8 

One of the most polarizing midterm elections in U.S. history is occuring Nov. 8 after a contentious summer with Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court and the economy experiencing inflation and a worker shortage. In Iowa, voters will choose a governor, U.S. House Representative, Senator and various other local seats. Information about the candidates vying for these seats are below.

Kim Reynolds – Governor Candidate

Incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds is up for re-election this November, touting her long-standing record of public service including her two terms serving as lieutenant governor for former Gov. Terry Branstad. 

Reynold’s priorities for Iowa according to her platform include cutting taxes for all Iowans, making Iowa an employment destination, improving access to child care, building Iowa’s health care workforce, preparing students for high-demand careers, providing educational choice and transparency for Iowa families and growing renewable fuels.


According to Reynolds’ platform, one of her priorities for improving the economy of Iowa is to create a strong and highly-skilled workforce by creating work-based learning opportunities for students. Reynolds also wants to expand housing opportunities and confront Iowa’s child care crisis.

In 2020 Reynolds signed an executive order establishing the Economic Recovery Advisory Board to assess the economic impact of COVID-19 on Iowa’s  economy. According to Reynolds’ platform, the board “recommends strategies that ensure the future prosperity of our state for all Iowans.”


According to Reynolds’ website, if re-elected she will urge the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse their earlier decision made in 2018 which would have blocked abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, around six weeks of pregnancy. 

Reynolds stated after Roe v. Wade was overturned, “Now is the time for us to stand up and continue the fight to protect the unborn,”

“The Supreme Court’s historic decision reaffirms that states have the right to protect the innocent and defenseless unborn—and now it’s time for our state to do just that. As governor, I will do whatever it takes to defend the most important freedom there is: the right to life,”  said. Gov. Reynolds.  

Student Perspective 

UNI student Bryant Cook is voting for Reynolds this term as he agrees with Reynold’s campaign slogan “Making Iowa Work,” and her positions regarding funding police and abortion.

“I know pro-choice Republicans might not vote for Kim Reynolds and might go for DeJear on this election,” Bryant said. “I feel like abortion is probably why I’m going towards Kim Reynolds for this election.”

Deidre DeJear – Governor Candidate

Deidre DeJear attended Drake University where she majored in broadcast news and politics with a B.A. in journalism. Throughout her career she has worked with philanthropy, small business development and financial education. 

According to DeJear’s platform, her priorities for Iowa include providing funding for public schools, creating access to reproductive healthcare, creating common sense gun safety laws, legalizing and regulating the use of cannabis and increasing healthcare for both insured and uninsured Iowans.


According to DeJear’s platform, codifying the right to abortion in Iowa is one of her top priorities. DeJear also wants to ensure age appropriate, medically accurate reproductive health education in Iowa’s public schools, increase access to birth control, expand the number of sexual and reproductive health clinics throughout Iowa, support holistic prenatal healthcare access and ensure Paid Parental Leave provisions.


According to DeJear’s platform, the economy is one of her top priorities. She has expressed the need for economic development to focus on the collaboration between local government and business as well as addressing the worker shortage  and loss of jobs in rural and urban communities. 

Her platform states she will implement an economic plan which will attract new manufacturing and technology jobs, strengthen small business, welcome unions, ensure a sustainable wage for all Iowa families and support the rights of workers.

Student Perspective

UNI student Anton Benjegerdes is voting for DeJear this term as he has been frustrated with Reynolds’ approach regarding funding for public schools, COVID-19 and the lawsuit against Reynolds concerning the state’s open records laws. 

“I would like to have a strong public education system in the state,” Benjegerdes said.

“Kim Reynolds has made it a priority to defund a lot of it, and I don’t particularly like that.”

Chuck Grassley – U.S. Senate Candidate

Sen. Chuck Grassley is in his seventh Senate term, having first been elected in 1980. Originally from New Hartford, Iowa, Grassley also served eight terms in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959-1975 and three terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1975-1981.

According to Grassley’s platform, some of his main priorities include agriculture and rural development, inflation and national debt, the border crisis and immigration, health care, biofuels and renewable energy, decreasing taxes and increasing government accountability. He also supports the “rights of parents to have a say in their child’s education.”


Grassley’s platform emphasizes his fiscally conservative values and his record of “delivering tax fairness for farm families and small businesses to hand down the family business from one generation to the next.”

Grassley has also “re-introduced the constitutional amendment to balance the budget.”


Grassley has pledged to vote against the proposed 15 week national abortion ban, however historically he has consistently voted for pro-life legislation. Most recently he has pledged to block taxpayer funding for abortion. He has received an A+ rating from the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List National Pro-Life Scorecard.

Student Perspective

Cook expressed he did not caucus for Grassley given how long he has been in office. 

“Naturally I am going to swing more towards Grassley,” Cook said. “I know Franken has served in the military and I know he is doing a lot for Iowa so I would take that into consideration as well. At the end of the day I’m going to look at both candidates.”

Michael Franken – U.S. Senate Candidate

Originally from Lebanon, Iowa, Michael Franken has served in the Navy, achieved the rank of admiral and has extensive experience in the Pentagon working with strategy, policy, and planning positions in the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Franken has been a military advisor to George W. Bush, opposed the invasion of Iraq and served under Barack Obama.

Some of Franken’s main priorities include reducing the cost of healthcare, reducing inflation by extending the child tax credit, stopping oil and gas companies from price gouging, common sense gun control, codifying Roe v Wade into federal law and supporting agriculture policy.


As mentioned previously, Franken has expressed the need to stop corporate price gouging, extend the child tax credit and make the wealthy and corporations pay “their fair share in taxes.”


Franken is a pro-choice candidate, expressing the need to “immediately codify Roe v. Wade into federal law.” In an interview with the Des Moines Register he stated, “Every man and woman has a fundamental right to make their own healthcare decisions, and our federal code needs to reflect this. The Supreme Court’s decision is out of step with the lives of Americans.”

Student Perspective

“I do like Franken’s stance on healthcare policy,” Benjegerdes said regarding his stance on Franken. “On foreign policy I think he would be experienced and knowledgeable.” 

Liz Mathis – U.S. House Candidate 

Liz Mathis has worked as a journalist, earning a degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, and reported for KWWL, becoming an anchor at age 23. Mathis later taught at Wartburg College and anchored  at KCRG Channel 9. Mathis then launched a new career in 2007 and worked as a non-profit leader in Cedar Rapids helping Iowans with mental health, housing and basic needs. In 2011 Mathis was elected to the State Senate representing parts of Linn County.

According to Mathis’ platform, her main priorities are guaranteeing access to high quality, accessible healthcare, growing Iowa’s clean energy economy, addressing the threat of climate change, supporting food security programs and much more.


According to Mathis’ platform, her priorities for the economy include expanding access to the capital that small businesses need to grow, supporting unions and fighting inflation.

Mathis said she supports the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. 


Mathis has made it clear she is a pro-choice candidate, expressing in an interview with KCRG, “I do not believe that the government should intervene in a woman’s right to choose her healthcare.” She continued, “I believe I am the candidate that is going to support women. I am the woman’s candidate.”

Student Perspective

UNI student Olivia Schneider is President of the student organization Panthers for Liz, and agrees with Mathis’ platform points.

“I love Liz,” Schneider said. “She is the pro-choice candidate in this race, she’s got good positions on climate, good positions on gun control, good positions on protecting Medicare and Medicaid which she has always done in the State Senate, and now I’d love to see her do it in Congress.”

Ashley Hinson – U.S. House Candidate 

Incumbent House Representative Ashley Hinson is running for re-election this term against challenger Liz Mathis. Hinson was a reporter for KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids for more than a decade. Hinson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021 representing Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, beating incumbent Democratic candidate Abby Finkenauer.

According to Hinson’s platform, her main priorities are creating jobs for Iowa’s economy, supporting working families, creating government transparency, securing the border from illegal immigration and advocating for vocational schools. 


According to Hinson’s platform, her main goals regarding the economy are to combat inflation, stop rising prices and address workforce shortages. Hinson supports middle-income tax cuts and small business owners. 


Hinson has expressed her position as a pro-life candidate. She has stated, “We must protect the unborn and stand up for the sanctity of life.”

Hinson was among the 163 Republican cosponsors of H.R. 1011, which guarantees a constitutional “right to life of each born and preborn human person.” The bill does not indicate any exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the pregant person’s life is at risk. The bill does eliminate the possibility for criminal charges for individuals who receive an abortion.

Student Perspective

None of the individuals interviewed expressed opinions about Hinson.

Final Thoughts from Students

Although several factors motivate people to vote, abortion seems to be the main driving factor for many voters this midterm season. As Schneider points out, “Ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned, people have been really concerned about it, and I think rightfully so. I think that is going to mobilize a lot of people to the polls, particularly young people.”

Cook emphasizes the importance of going out to vote, regardless of ideology.

“Don’t let other people dictate what you should do and go with your own beliefs,” Cook said. “If you feel strongly about a core belief, go for it. It is your civic duty to go out and vote. It is your responsibility. If you think politics doesn’t affect your life, that is wrong. No matter where you go in America, politics will affect your life whether it’s federal, state or even local.”

Polls will open Nov. 8. Find your polling place at