Democrats Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer won their respective primary elections in Iowa on Tuesday night, landing them one step closer to becoming the first women the state has ever sent to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Axne, a small-business owner and community activist, beat out two men running for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, including Pete D’Alessandro, a former campaigner for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Finkenauer, currently a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, overcame three other candidates for the state’s 1st District.
Both will face incumbent Republican candidates holding vulnerable seats in Congress in the November midterm elections, but the two women have garnered widespread support in Iowa and the country at large. Axne and Finkenauer have each secured endorsements from the progressive political action group EMILY’s List and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations.
“We did it! I’m honored to be your Democratic nominee for #IA03,” Axne wrote on Twitter after the primary was called. “Everyone played a critical role in this victory & I couldn’t be more grateful for your support.”
Finkenauer posted her own note to social media, saying she was “honored to be your nominee in the First District.”
If either wins in November, they would become the first woman or women Iowa has sent to the U.S. House in history. And Finkenauer, at age 29, would be the youngest woman ever sent to Congress in the country’s history. Sen. Joni Ernst (R) became the first woman sent to Congress from Iowa in the 2014 midterm elections.
Axne and Finkenauer’s candidacy is emblematic of a growing wave of women running for public office this year, and a record number filed to run for U.S. House seats in 2018.