POLITICS

Iowa May Elect A Woman To Congress For The First Time

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst and her husband Gail, rear, fill out their ballots in Iowa’s Republican primary
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst and her husband Gail, rear, fill out their ballots in Iowa’s Republican primary in Red Oak, Iowa, Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Five Republicans are competing for the GOP Senate nomination and a chance to face Democrat Bruce Braley, who is running unopposed. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Tuesday night's primary results may have significant gender politics implications for Iowa. The state has never elected a woman to Congress.

There is a good chance that the Hawkeye State could see its first female federally elected official this fall after state Sen. Joni Ernst's Republican primary win in the race for an open Senate seat, and former state Sen. Staci Appel's Democratic primary victory in the state's 3rd Congressional District.

Ernst emerged victorious from a multi-candidate field. She will face Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in November, in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

Appel ran unopposed in her House race for retiring Republican Rep. Tom Latham's seat.

Both Ernst and Appel have excited national women's groups. Ernst has been endorsed by RightNOW Women PAC, a group aiming to recruit more women to be active within Republican politics. Appel has the backing of Emily's List, a Democratic group that works to elect women candidates.

West Virginia also has never elected a female senator, though that will change in November, as Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) have clinched their party nominations.

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