Trump carried this rural Iowa district by 21 points. A Democrat just won it by double digits in a special election.
At the state and local level, Republicans have found themselves struggling to remain competitive in special elections as the backlash against Donald Trump continues to grow.
Recently, Republicans in New Hampshire suffered a blow after failing to flip a Democratic-held seat in a conservative area where they very much had the advantage. Now, they are facing a similar defeat in Iowa.
Phil Miller, a local large-animal veterinarian and Democratic candidate, defeated GOP candidate Travis Harris in the special election for Iowa's 82nd House District. Miller took 54 percent of the vote to Harris's 44 percent.
It's the 14th special election Democrats have won since Trump's election.
This district, heavily rural and close to the Illinois border, was already held by Democrats. But the previous representative, Curt Hanson, who died in June, had benefitted from incumbency, and although the district contains relatively even numbers of registered Democrats and Republicans, it voted for Trump by a 21-point margin. So the Republican was a heavy favorite to win.
The win was a triumph of skillful candidate recruiting, and further evidences the nationwide atmosphere of resentment toward Trump.
In 31 D vs. R specials since Trump won, Dems are outpacing Clinton by an average of 13% and Obama by 9% https://t.co/FdZZIVs3c9
— Daily Kos Elections (@DKElections) August 9, 2017
Democrats have racked up a number of other down-ballot victories in special elections this year, including the retaking of Republican-held state and local offices in Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
Democratic engagement this year has left Republicans struggling to defend their turf. The results are an encouraging harbinger for the road ahead.