Cynthia Lynne Axne (/ˈæ;[1] née Wadle; born April 20, 1965) is an American businesswoman and politician serving as the U.S. Representative from Iowa’s 3rd congressional district since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, she defeated incumbent Republican David Young in the 2018 election. The district is anchored in the state capital, Des Moines; it includes much of the state’s southwest quadrant, including Council Bluffs. Following the defeat of Abby Finkenauer and the retirement of Dave Loebsack from Congress, Axne became the sole Democrat in Iowa’s delegation in 2021. She currently is the dean of Iowa’s delegation to the House of Representatives.

Early life and career

Axne was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1965, the daughter of Terry and Joanne Wadle.[2] She graduated from Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University.[3]

After graduating from college, Axne worked in leadership development and strategic planning for the Tribune Company in Chicago. From 2005 through 2014, she worked in Iowa state government on service delivery in over 20 state agencies in the executive branch.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives



During the 2018 elections, Axne ran for the United States House of Representatives in Iowa’s 3rd congressional district.[4][5]

Axne won the primary election with 57.91% of the vote.[6] She defeated incumbent Representative David Young in the general election and became, along with Abby Finkenauer, one of the first two women from Iowa elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.[7] Young carried 15 of the district’s 16 counties, but Axne won Polk County, the most populous county in the district and home to Des Moines, by over 30,000 votes, far exceeding the overall margin of 8,000.[8]


Axne won the Democratic primary virtually unopposed, only running against write-in candidates.[9] She then went up against David Young in a rematch during the general election and narrowly won with 48.9% of the vote compared to Young’s 47.6%.[10]


Axne took office amidst the 2018–2019 United States federal government shutdown and requested that her pay be withheld until the shutdown ended.[11] On January 30, 2019, Axne co-sponsored a bill to prevent future federal government shutdowns from happening; the bill was titled Shutdown to End All Shutdowns (SEAS) Act.[12]

As of September 2021, Axne had voted in line with Joe Biden‘s stated position 100% of the time.[13]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Cindy Axne speaking to 2019 Women’s March attendees in the rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines

2018 Iowa 3rd Congressional District Democratic Primary[15]
Democratic Cindy Axne 32,070 57.91
DemocraticEddie J. Mauro14,58226.33
DemocraticPete D’Alessandro8,59515.52
Total votes55,383 100
2018 Iowa 3rd Congressional District General Election
Democratic Cindy Axne 175,642 49.3
RepublicanDavid Young (incumbent)167,93347.1
LibertarianBryan Holder7,2672.0
Legal Marijuana NowMark Elworth Jr.2,0150.6
GreenPaul Knupp1,8880.5
IndependentJoe Grandanette1,3010.4
Total votes356,241 100.0
2020 Iowa 3rd Congressional District Democratic Primary[16]
Democratic Cindy Axne (incumbent) 76,681 99.2
Total votes77,304 100.0
2020 Iowa 3rd Congressional District General Election
Democratic Cindy Axne (incumbent) 219,205 48.9
RepublicanDavid Young212,99747.6
LibertarianBryan Jack Holder15,3613.4
Total votes447,947 100.0

Personal life

Axne and her husband John currently operate a digital design firm. They have two teenage sons and live in West Des Moines.[3] Axne and her family are members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines.

Axne is 6 feet (1.83 m) tall.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Axne, Cindy [@axne4congress] (September 16, 2020). “Protecting Iowans’ health care should be a top priority for #IA03. That’s not rhetoric, that’s my record. In Congress, I’ve fought to lower costs of care, protect rural hospitals, expand telehealth, and I’ve NEVER voted to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions” (Tweet). Retrieved September 17, 2020 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ “Candidate Conversation – Cindy Axne (D)”. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. August 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c “Three takeaways on Cindy Axne, 3rd District Democrat running for Congress”. The Des Moines Register. May 1, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Mike Brownlee (June 2, 2017). “Democrat Cindy Axne looking to unseat David Young in Iowa congressional race | Politics”. Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  5. ^ William Petroski (May 26, 2018). “What are the key issues for Cindy Axne, Democratic candidate for the 3rd District?”. The Des Moines Register.
  6. ^ “Iowa’s 3rd District: Cindy Axne wins primary, will vie against GOP Rep. David Young”. The Des Moines Register. June 5, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  7. ^ “Iowa voters elect female governor, 2 female U.S. representatives, record number of female lawmakers”. Des Moines Register. November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  8. ^ “IA District 03”. Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  9. ^ “Primary Election – 2020 CANVASS SUMMARY” (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  10. ^ “General Election – 2020 Canvass Summary” (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State.
  11. ^ Peterson, Mike (January 11, 2019). “Axne axes salary during shutdown”. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  12. ^ Peterson, Mike (January 30, 2019). “Axne pushes government shutdown ban bill”. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  13. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  14. ^ “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  15. ^ “June 5, 2018 Primary Election”. Iowa Secretary of State. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  16. ^ “Primary Election June 2, 2020 | United States Representative District 3 – Democratic”. Iowa Secretary of State.
  17. ^ “Cindy Axne tells how she fought off would-be rapist in speech to Des Moines business leaders”. The Des Moines Register. October 2, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2020. A former West Des Moines Valley basketball player who stands six feet tall…

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa’s 3rd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Kelly Armstrong
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim Baird