- The Washington Times - Friday, November 5, 2004

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Bush won Iowa yesterday, finishing the 2004 campaign with wins in all three of the states that were still up in the air on election night.

With the Iowa decision, Mr. Bush finished with 286 electoral votes and Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry 252, and became the first Republican since President Reagan in 1984 to carry the state.

Although Mr. Kerry had conceded the race for the White House on Wednesday, the counting of absentee ballots continued in Iowa, which had been too close to call.

By yesterday, Mr. Bush had 745,980 votes and Mr. Kerry had 732,764 with the number of outstanding ballots too few to change the outcome.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won Iowa and New Mexico. The only Republican-to-Democratic switch this year was New Hampshire.

The Democrats’ defeat in Iowa reflects a larger problem for them in the Midwest and across the political map.

Along with Wisconsin and Minnesota, Iowa and its seven electoral votes are part of the once-Democratic upper Midwest that is growing more conservative with each presidential election. Mr. Kerry won Minnesota by just three percentage points, Wisconsin by a single point.

In addition, Michigan and Pennsylvania went Democratic by no more than three percentage points and Mr. Bush won Ohio despite its economic miseries.

Democrats hope to cultivate the Southwest as a fertile substitute for Midwest losses, but Mr. Bush narrowed Democratic advantages among Hispanics in the region.

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