Trump holds on in Iowa after neck-and-neck race

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President Donald Trump has won Iowa, retaining a state he carried comfortably in 2016 but which emerged as a competitive battleground in 2020 as his support there eroded and coronavirus cases surged in the state leading into Election Day.

Trump’s victory in Iowa gives him six electoral votes for his reelection bid, keeping the state red after former President Barack Obama won it twice.

Iowa emerged as a battleground state later than others in the 2020 campaign, with polls showing that majorities of Iowa voters did not like Trump’s handling of the pandemic and his support among senior citizens slipping, as it did across the country. Iowa hit record numbers of hospitalizations with a surge of new cases that began in October.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican and a Trump supporter, has garnered criticism for not issuing a statewide mask mandate and for seeking to block local officials from enacting their own orders.

Biden’s campaign first began running TV ads in the state around Labor Day. And it wasn’t until October when either Trump or Biden set foot in Iowa for the first time since the caucuses in early 2020.

Biden made a stop in Iowa in the final stretch of the election. Trump was in the state earlier in October, fresh off his recovery from catching Covid-19 himself. He held a rally on the tarmac of the Des Moines International Airport, where he touted government assistance to farmers and other first-term actions, though the event drew criticism for flouting public health guidelines. An anti-Trump group purchased a billboard advertisement nearby that warned of a “COVID superspreader event.”

Some Democrats wrote Iowa off as a battleground after Trump’s decisive 2016 win, which featured the biggest margin of victory of any state he flipped from blue to red that year. But Democrats gained some ground during the 2018 midterms, flipping two of Iowa’s four congressional districts from red to blue even as Reynolds fended off a Democratic challenger by 3 percentage points.

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