Historic Day As Iowa Inaugurates First Elected Female Governor
January 18, 2019
 A record number of women – 106* in the U.S. House and 25 in the U.S. Senate – will officially begin serving in the 116th Congress. 
* Note: The 106 number includes four female nonvoting House members, who represent the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
January 3, 2019
Iowa voters made history by electing a record number of women on Election Day 2018
For Immediate Release
November 7, 2018
Contact: Executive Director Melissa Gesing – 563.506.3826
Iowa voters made history by electing a record number of women on Election Day 2018.
50-50 in 2020 congratulates Congresswomen-Elect Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer, Governor Kim Reynolds, and numerous female legislative and local candidates on their victories. 
When 50-50 in 2020 was founded in 2010, its initial goal was to achieve equity in the state legislature, elect a female governor, a woman to the U.S. Senate, and two women to the U.S. House of Representatives. With last night’s results, Iowa women have now achieved gender equity in our federal delegation from Iowa.
“We give a heartfelt thank you to all of the women who placed your names on the ballot this year! Some of you won, and some of you will win next time. We are proud of each of you,” stated 50-50 in 2020 Executive Director Melissa Gesing. “It is important to note that many women who lost their races during 2016 ran again and won in 2018.”
“At 50-50 in 2020, we know that our work has just begun. We have already talked with several women who have approached us about running for office in 2019 and 2020 and look forward to continuing to provide year-round training and mentorships for our female candidates and elected officials.”
Founded in 2010 by former state Senators Jean Lloyd-Jones and Maggie Tinsman, 50-50 in 2020 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan, issue-neutral organization dedicated to achieving political equity for women in Iowa. 
50-50 in 2020’s 2018 Equity for Women Award recipient is Diane Ramsey, founder and former CEO of Iowa Women Lead Change, a premier leadership program for Iowa women and co-chair of the public/private partnership EPIC Corporate Challenge.
Ramsey will receive her award at our annual fundraiser reception set for 5:30-7:30 p.m.Thursday, October 11th, at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.  Mark your calendars and watch for your snail mail and/or Evite this fall!

OP ED from the 50-50 in 2020 Board of Directors


Released July 2018

As we head into the fall election, rumblings about “negative” campaigning have already begun. What do we mean by “negative’ tactics? Our bipartisan board of directors would like to share our perceptions on the subject with candidates from all parties, at every level.

What’s positive?

Explaining how your policy on a particular issue differs from that of your opponent. This is a legitimate, in fact, necessary element of any campaign. Tell us what you stand for and how it is different from your opponent’s policy.

Painting a vision of the future. Tell us what you plan to do and why that will make our state better.

Working hard to connect with as many voters as you can. Explain your record. Tout your experience and your abilities without criticizing your opponent personally.

What’s negative?

Launching personal attacks on your opponent. That practice should have been left behind in junior high (or as it’s now called, middle school).

Defining your opponent with derogatory labels and slogans. They are not informative and they insult the voters’ intelligence and sensibilities.

Demonizing your opponent. This practice only demeans the one doing it.

Taking words and phrases out of context and twisting their meanings. This practice should be beneath the dignity of honest candidates and parties. Manipulating your opponent’s visual image is a similar form of deceit.

We can have a hard-hitting, full-bore campaign on the issues without sinking into the muck of negative campaigning. Iowa voters are more than ready for a civil, respectful contest. We sincerely hope the candidates and their parties will deliver.

Signed: Jean Lloyd-Jones, Iowa City; Maggie Tinsman, Davenport; Charla Schmid, Red Oak; Mary Rae Bragg, Dubuque; Christine Louscher, Algona; Graciela “Tita” Coffman, Coralville; Cheryl Jahnel Erb, Charles City; Melissa Gesing, Des Moines; Courtney Greene, West Des Moines; Valerie Hennings, Sioux City; Doris Kelley, Cedar Falls; Libby Slappey, Cedar Rapids.

About 50-50 in2020

50-50 in 2020 is a nonpartisan organization whose goal is to recruit, train and mentor women candidates in sufficient numbers that by the year 2020, the centennial of women’s suffrage, women will hold 50 percent of the seats in the Iowa Legislature, 50 percent of the Iowa Congressional delegation, and the governor’s office.

May 24, 2017

Maggie Tinsman, 563-359-3624
Jean Lloyd-Jones, 319-338-0695
50-50 in 2020 Exec. Dir. Mary Ellen Miller 515-783-6390


Leaders of 50-50 in 2020, Iowa’s only nonpartisan group working for election of women to the state’s legislative and state-wide elected offices, are celebrating Kim Reynolds’ succession to Iowa’s highest office.

Reynolds becomes the first woman to serve as Iowa governor with her swearing-in Wednesday morning at the state capitol. She takes over the office after serving six years as Iowa lieutenant governor under Terry Branstad, who leaves the governor’s office to become American ambassador to China.

“This is an historical day in the lives of Iowans,” said 50-50 in 2020 co-founder Maggie Tinsman, “one that has been dreamed of for nearly a century, ever since women got the right to vote. Our daughters will see the face of a woman in the governor’s office and realize that one day they, too, could be there.”

“We at 50-50 in 2020 are looking forward to presenting our Milestone Award to Kim Reynolds,” said 50-50 in 2020 co-founder Jean Lloyd-Jones. “It will mark the accomplishment of one of our organization’s goals, as we work to see women serving in half the seats in Iowa’s General Assembly, half the seats in Iowa’s congressional delegation and in the governor’s office.”

In 2015, 50-50 in 2020 presented its Milestone Award to Sen. Joni Ernst, the first woman to serve Iowa in the United States Senate. None of Iowa’s four congressional districts have ever been represented by a woman.

As a nonpartisan, issue-neutral initiative to recruit and elect women to state and federal office, 50-50 in 2020 is the only group of its kind in the United States. The goal is to achieve gender equity in Iowa by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the year American women acquired the right to vote. Women comprise about 52 percent of Iowa voters, but currently hold less than 23 percent of seats in Iowa’s General Assembly.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mary Ellen Miller, Exec. Dir., 50-50 in 2020  (515) 783-6390
Jean Lloyd-Jones 319.466.3079 (h) or 319.930.2532 (m)


50-50 in 2020 is mourning their board member and friend, former Iowa Lt. Gov. Joy Corning, who died Saturday night.

Corning succumbed while in hospice care at her daughter’s residence in Urbandale.

Up until a few short months ago, Corning had maintained a schedule of volunteer activities that typified her life’s devotion to humanitarian causes.

“It was my great pleasure to work with Joy most recently as a member of the board of directors for 50-50 in 2020,” said 50-50 in 2020 co-founder Maggie Tinsman,” but she became a dear friend many years ago, even before we two served in the Iowa Senate together. She was the kind of person we all aspire to be: bright, wise, happy and totally involved in her community.  Truly, we shall always remember this exceptional Iowa woman.”

“Iowa has lost a shining inspiration who demonstrated integrity, perseverance and a concern for the common good,” said Jean Lloyd- Jones, 50-50 in 2020’s co-founder who also served in the Iowa Legislature with Corning and Tinsman.

“Joy was proud to have served as lieutenant governor during Gov. Terry Branstad’s first terms, but she was always someone who showed regard for all Iowans, Democrats like me as well as her fellow Republicans. Her openness was a precious and treasured gift, just as Joy was herself.”

In 1985, Corning won a seat in the Iowa Senate and served until she was asked by Gov. Terry Branstad to join the Republican ticket as candidate for lieutenant governor in 1991. She served that term and another term after being reelected in 1995. She served as chair of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors from 1996-1997.

Corning was one of the founding members of 50-50 in 2020, a bipartisan initiative created in 2010 to get more women elected into the Iowa Legislature, Iowa’s congressional delegation and the governor’s office. Women currently hold fewer than 23 percent of the Legislature’s seats, but now are represented in the U.S. Senate by Joni Ernst. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is in line to move into the governor’s seat when Branstad is confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China.

In addition to her support for gender equity, Corning was a major fundraiser for numerous causes, and served on the boards for such groups as the Des Moines Symphony, Iowa Women in Public Policy, Money and Politics, and Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. She was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

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July 26, 2016
50-50 in 2020 Exec. Dir. Mary Ellen Miller 515-783-6390

For a complete list of women running on the Iowa ballot for 2016, see below.

This November’s election in Iowa will be a milestone to celebrate regardless of who wins, according to 50-50 in 2020, the state-wide initiative to help elect more Iowa women to office.

For the first time in history, voters will have an opportunity to vote for women on every level of the state ballot.

Leaders of 50-50 in 2020, whose goal is to elect more women to Iowa’s Legislature, congressional offices and governor’s office, say that having women contend at every level sends a message to women throughout Iowa.

“For nearly 100 years, since women in America got the right to vote, female candidates have been the exception,” said Jean Lloyd-Jones, 50-50 co-founder and former state senator from Iowa City. “But in November not only will there be a woman running for president, Iowans will see a woman running for U.S. Senate, women running for U.S. House in two of the state’s four congressional districts and 58 women running for office in the Iowa House and Senate.”

Public acceptance of women running for office in Iowa is growing, contends Maggie Tinsman, 50-50 cofounder and former Iowa State senator from Bettendorf.

“Our job is nowhere near complete,” Tinsman said, acknowledging that even if all 59 legislative candidates were to win they would not be enough to balance the gender gap in Iowa’s 150-member General Assembly. “But the more females seen running for top-of-the-ballot office, the easier it becomes for people to see women as contenders, beginning with themselves.”

“Studies show that having more women involved in decision-making brings better problem-solving and better results – something we all want to see in our government as well as in society in general,” Tinsman said.

Established in 2010, 50-50 in 2020 is an issue-neutral, not-for-profit organization working to help women from all political parties and parts of the state to run for office. It is the only bipartisan, issue-neutral group in America working for election of women to political office. It is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates.

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The following list documents all female legislators and candidates in Iowa as of August 22, 2016

Non-Incumbents IA House = 28       November Opponent
Alarcon-Flory Perla Dem HD6 Sioux City Jim Carlin
Bloomingdale Jane Rep HD 51 Worth County + Tim Hejhal
Celsi Claire Dem HD 42 West Des Moines Peter Cownie
Childs-Smith Sondra Rep HD 45 Story County Beth Wessel-Kroeschell
Creason Jan Dem HD 17 Hamilton County Matt Windschiti
Denison Paula Dem HD 75 Benton County Dawn Pettengill
Donahue Molly Dem HD 68 Cedar Rapids Ken Rizer
Duncan Deb Dem HD 47 Boone County + Chip Baltimore
Duncan Carrie Dem HD 84 Henry County David Heaton
Eldrenkamp Jeannine Rep HD 98 Clinton County Mary Wolfe
Franklin Mickie Dem HD 49 Nevada Dave Deyoe
Fritz Doris Dem HD 49 Butler County + Pat Grassley
Fry Jocelyn Lib HD 35 Des Moines Ako Abdul-Samad
Hager Kristi Rep HD 56 Waukon Patti Ruff
Hinson Ashley Rep HD 67 Linn County Mark Seidl
Hoveland Barbara Rep HD 53 Cerro Gordo County Sharon Steckman
Huddleston Sara Dem HD 11 Buena Vista Co Gary Worthan
Huisinga Nancy Paule Dem HD 08 Clarion Terry Baxter
Kean Jessica Dem HD 58 Jackson Co Andy McKean
Konfrst Jennifer Dem HD 43 Windsor Heights Chris Hagenow
Lundgren Shannon Rep HD 57 Dubuque Tom Stecher
Matson Heather Dem HD 38 Ankeny Kevin Koester
Meyer Theresa Dem HD 63 Blackhawk County + Sandy Salmon
Morris Maridith Dem HD 39 Johnston Jake Highfill
Nielsen Amy Dem HD 77 Johnson County Royce Phillips
Phillips Andrea Dem HD 37 Ankeny John Landon
Stokes Stacie Rep HD 52 Floyd County + Todd Prichard
Taha Sherrie Dem HD 48 Story County + Robert Bacon
Incumbents IA House = 22        
Anderson Marti Dem HD 36 Des Moines Scott Miller
Bennett Liz Dem HD 65 Linn County Harry Foster
Brown-Powers Timi Dem HD 61 Black Hawk County no opponent
Finkenauer Abby Dem HD 99 Dubuque County no opponent
Gaines Ruth Ann Dem HD 32 Des Moines no opponent
Gaskill Mary Dem HD 81 Wapello County no opponent
Hanusa Mary Ann Rep HD 16 Pottawattamie County no opponent
Heddens Lisa Dem HD 46 Story County no opponent
Jones Megan Hess Rep HD 2 Clay County no opponent
Lensing Vicki Dem HD 85 Johnson County no opponent
Mascher Mary Dem HD 86 Johnson County no opponent
Miller Helen Dem HD 9 Webster County Gary Waechter
Pettingill Dawn Rep HD 75 Benton County Paula G. Denison
Ruff Patti Dem HD 56 Clayton County Kristi Hager
Running-Marquardt Kirstin Dem HD 69 Linn County no opponent
Salmon Sandy Rep HD 63 Black Hawk County Teresa L. Meyer
Steckman Sharon Dem HD 53 Cerro Gordo County Barbara Hovland
Thede Phyllis Dem HD 93 Scott County Kurt Whalen
Upmeyer Linda Rep HD 54 Cerro Gordo County no opponent
Wessel-Kroeschell Beth Dem HD45 Story County Sondra Childs-Smith
Winckler Cindy Dem HD 90 Scott County no opponent
Wolfe Mary Dem HD 98 Clinton County Jeannine Eldrenkamp
Non-Incumbents IA Senate = 6        
Bangert Susan Dem SD 4 Algona Dennis Guth
Gadelha Renee Rep SD 34 Linn County Liz Mathis
Hiekes Jan Dem SD 28 Decorah Michael Breitbach
Hikiji Miyoko Dem SD 20 Urbandale Brad Zaun
Sadler Bonnie Rep SD30 Blackhawk Jeff Danielson
Smith Ruth Ind SD 14 Wayne Count + Amy Sinclair
Incumbents IA Senate = 5        
Jochum Pam Dem SD 50 Dubuque County John Hulsizer Jr.
Mathis Liz Dem SD 34 Linn County Renee Gadelha
Petersen Janet Dem SD 18 Polk County no opponent
Sinclair Amy Rep SD 14 Wayne County no opponent
Wilhelm Mary Jo Dem SD 26 Howard County Wayne Brown
Non-Incumbents U.S. Congress = 4        
Addy Claudia Ind US House 3 Des Moines David Young (I)
Judge Patty Dem US Senate Albia Charles Grassley (I)
Vernon Monica Dem US House 1 Cedar Rapids Rod Blum (I)
Weaver Kim Dem US House 4 NW Iowa Steve King (I) 28, 861
Holdover Incumbents  = 5        
Hart Rita Dem SD 49 Clinton County  
Ragan Amanda Dem SD 27 Carro Gordo County  
Mossiman Mary Rep State Auditor  
Reynolds Kim Rep State Lt. Governor  
Ernst Joni Rep State U.S. Senate  
Incumbents Not Running Again = 4        
Berry Deborah Dem HD  62 Blackhawk  
Dunkel Nancy Dem HD 57 Dubuque  
Miller Linda Rep HD 94 Scott  
Stutsman Sally Dem HD 77 Johnson  
  Non-Incumbents Totals:   28 House, 6 Senate, 4 Congress  = 38
  Incumbent Totals:  22 House, 5 Senate = 27  
    Total women running in November 2016  for state level offices:  65
      (per SOS office August 20, 2016)