On Tuesday, primary elections were held in many states across the country, with some pretty significant results. Indeed, Iowa primary winner Abby Finkenauer could become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress following her victory in Tuesday's Democratic primary. The 28-year-old will now face Republican Representative Rod Blum of Iowa's 1st congressional district in the general election in November.
Finkenauer soundly defeated her three other opponents in the Democratic primary for the 1st congressional district. As the Des Moines Register reported, with all 416 precincts reporting, Finkenauer secured 67 percent of the vote.
If elected to Congress in November, Finkenauer would be the youngest-ever woman to serve as a Representative. Currently, the youngest-ever elected Representative is Elise Stefanik of New York, who was elected when she was 30 years old — and is still serving in Congress. The late William Charles Cole Claiborne, who was elected in 1797, is the youngest-ever male Representative, elected at 22 years old. Claiborne was seated in Congress even though he did not meet the constitutional requirement of being at least 25 years old to serve as a Representative.
After her victory, Finkenauer took to Twitter to thank voters and to assert her commitment to ensuring that she is victorious in November's general election. As Finkenauer wrote:
Thank you, Iowa! I'm honored to be your nominee in the First District. From day one I've said this campaign is about winning back #ia01 for our working families, and I won't stop until that work is done. Onward!
Finkenauer expressed similar sentiments in a prepared statement, as reported by the Des Moines Register. “As I’ve said from day one, this is personal,” she noted. “We started this campaign to stand up for families just like mine, who work hard and play by the rules but have the odds stacked against them.”
The paper also revealed that Finkenauer has been a state legislator in Iowa since she was 24 years old. On her campaign website, Finkenauer is described as "a staunch defender of working families and a vocal advocate for women."
In an interview with Elle magazine back in February 2018, Finkenauer elaborated on why she initially chose to run against Representative Blum, a second term Republican. She explained that she thought voters could relate to her — and that's what gave her the confidence to seek to unseat Blum. As Finkenauer put it:
I decided to get into this race, because, yes, I’m different than Rod Blum, because I understand what folks here have experienced. He has no idea what their lives are like. I'm still paying off student loans. I can’t buy a new car, because my payment would be what my new car payment would be. I come from a working-class family ... These races are expensive, and Rod Blum is a wealthy man who can write his campaign a check whenever he wants. I decided to just work really hard. I decided I would go to voters and tell them, 'I will have your back, but I am going to need your help.' It turns out it works.
As the Des Moines Register reported, following Finkenauer's victory, Blum said in a prepared statement, “I am looking forward to a respectful race in which we can discuss the issues during 12 debates throughout the first district, beginning in July."
The electoral showdown between Finkenauer and Blum will occur on Nov. 6, 2018. Many around the United States will likely be closely watching the race, though not only because Finkenauer could make history if she is elected. As the Washington Post described, Finkenauer securing victory in Iowa's 1st congressional district could also play a key role in helping Democrats regain a majority in the U.S House of Representatives. Thus, the upcoming Congressional race could have implications not just for Iowa, but for the broader United States as well.