Trump-Endorsed Combat Veteran Nunn Unseats Democrat Axne in Key Iowa House Race

Trump-Endorsed Combat Veteran Nunn Unseats Democrat Axne in Key Iowa House Race
Then presidential candidate and now President Joe Biden (L) is joined by Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) during a town hall meeting in Ankeny, Iowa, on Jan. 25, 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Jeff Louderback

Republican state Sen. Zach Nunn has defeated incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District election.

Results showed Nunn with 156,237 votes (50.26 percent) compared to 154,084 (49.57 percent) for Axne, according to The Associated Press, which called the race on Nov. 9.

“We’re going to work with people not just across the aisle, but every Iowan who wants to make a dedicated move to make our state better—and by result, our country better,” Nunn said during his victory speech.

“Representing Iowa’s Third Congressional District has been one of the best opportunities of my life and I hope Zach Nunn understands the responsibility of this office and will continue my hard work to uplift Iowans’ voices in Washington,” Axne said in an emailed statement.

Nunn, 43, flew more than 700 combat hours in the Middle East after 9/11 before becoming an intelligence squadron commander for the Iowa Air National Guard.

Today he and his wife own a small business. He has served as a state senator since 2019 and was a state representative from 2014 to 2018.

Nunn was named one of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns,” which identifies the party’s top U.S. House recruits for 2022.

Republican Zach Nunn faced Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District U.S. House race. (Courtesy of Zach Nunn for Congress)
Republican Zach Nunn faced Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District U.S. House race. (Courtesy of Zach Nunn for Congress)

He received the coveted Trump endorsement on July 6.

“Zach Nunn is a conservative warrior running to represent Iowa’s 3rd congressional district!” Trump wrote in a statement through his Save America PAC. “A combat veteran, Zach knows how to strengthen our military, defend our country, and care for our brave veterans.

“In Congress, Zach will tirelessly work to support our great farmers, cut taxes, and protect our Second Amendment,” Trump added. “His opponent, Cindy Axne, a puppet of Nancy Pelosi, has been a disaster and disgrace for the people of Iowa.”

Axne was supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

She has served two terms after winning elections that were decided by razor-thin margins.

In 2018, Axne unseated Republican David Young by 7,709 votes. She defeated him by 6,208 votes in a 2020 rematch.

Authored by a nonpartisan commission and approved last year by the GOP-controlled legislature, new congressional maps placed several counties with large Republican majorities in the 3rd Congressional District.

The redrawn 3rd District gained nine counties that voted for Trump in 2020.

When Axne beat Young in 2018, it was part of a “Blue Wave” against President Donald Trump.

Now, with the country’s current economic conditions, Republicans were hopeful heading into Election Day that there would be a “Red Tsunami.”

With record-high inflation and a rapidly increasing cost of living, the economy is the top issue on the minds of most voters across the United States. Nunn frequently reminded Iowans about that during campaign stops.

“We’re in a situation right now where we are at harvest season, where we saw coming in folks in trucks and combines and the price of diesel for them is not going down,” Nunn recently said to supporters at a campaign event 30 miles west of Des Moines.

“Your insurance is going up. Your ability to afford that first home for a couple of new homebuyers could become vastly out of reach because of the rate of inflation,” Nunn said. “[It’s] the highest inflation rate in my lifetime.”

Axne portrayed Nunn as an anti-abortion extremist. She consistently pointed to his comments in a televised debate before the GOP primary in June supporting a ban on abortion without exceptions, even in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

Nunn softened his tone on the topic after the forum.

Axne pushed back against Nunn’s campaign question, “Are you better off than you were two years ago?”

“I think that’s a pandering question and I think Iowans will realize that, yeah, there are some things we still need to get fixed and we have a lot to work on,” Axne said at a campaign event.

“You can’t tell me that your family hasn’t done better when we were able to support folks during COVID and make sure they kept jobs.”

Throughout his campaign, Nunn described how he voted for the most expansive tax cut package in Iowa history.

Nunn has often told voters he would repeat what Republicans have done in the Iowa Legislature with highlights like a flat income tax and cuts to the corporate tax rate.

Jeff Louderback covers news and features on the White House and executive agencies for The Epoch Times. He also reports on Senate and House elections. A professional journalist since 1990, Jeff has a versatile background that includes covering news and politics, business, professional and college sports, and lifestyle topics for regional and national media outlets.
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