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Cindy Axne
Axne Official Portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2023
Preceded by David Young
Succeeded by Zach Nunn
Personal details
Cynthia Lynne Wadle

(1965-04-20) April 20, 1965 (age 58)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse John Axne
Children 2
Education University of Iowa (BA)
Northwestern University (MBA)

Cynthia Lynne Axne (née Wadle; born April 20, 1965) is an American politician who served as the U.S. representative from Iowa's 3rd congressional district from 2019 until 2023. She is currently a senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Biden Administration.

A member of the Democratic Party, Axne narrowly defeated incumbent Republican David Young in the 2018 elections. The district was anchored in the state capital Des Moines; it included much of the state's southwest quadrant, including Council Bluffs. Axne ran for reelection to a third term in 2022, but lost to Republican challenger Zach Nunn, a U.S. Air Force officer. She is the most recent Democrat to represent Iowa in Congress.

Early life and career

Axne was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1965, the daughter of Terry and Joanne Wadle. 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.

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

U.S. House of Representatives



In 2018, Axne ran for the United States House of Representatives in Iowa's 3rd congressional district. She won the Democratic primary election with 57.91% of the vote and defeated incumbent Representative David Young in the general election, becoming, with Abby Finkenauer, one of the first two women from Iowa elected to the House. Young carried 15 of the district's 16 counties, but Axne won Polk County, the district's most populous county and home to Des Moines, by over 30,000 votes, far exceeding the overall margin of 8,000.


In 2020, Axne won the Democratic primary virtually unopposed, facing only write-in candidates. She then defeated David Young in a rematch in the general election, with 48.9% of the vote to Young's 47.6%.


Axne ran for reelection. She lost to the Republican nominee Zach Nunn in the November general election.


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

In September 2021, Axne was accused of failing to disclose up to $645,000 in stock trades. Reports also found that she had bought and sold stocks in companies she was tasked to oversee as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.

In July 2022, The Committee on Ethics voted to clear Axne of any wrongdoing and dismissed previously filed complaints on stock trading.

In September 2022, Axne voted for the Inflation Reduction Act by proxy while on vacation in France.

As of October 2022, Axne has voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time. In an October 2022 interview, she called Biden "the most impactful president we've seen in this country's history".

In 2022, Axne voted for H.R. 1808: Assault Weapons Ban of 2022.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • New Democrat Coalition

Electoral history

Women's March 2019 (39839549983)
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
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Axne 32,070 57.91
Democratic Eddie J. Mauro 14,582 26.33
Democratic Pete D'Alessandro 8,595 15.52
Democratic Write-ins 136 0.25
Total votes 55,383 100
2018 Iowa 3rd Congressional District General Election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Axne 175,642 49.3
Republican David Young (incumbent) 167,933 47.1
Libertarian Bryan Holder 7,267 2.0
Legal ... Now Party Mark Elworth Jr. 2,015 0.6
Green Paul Knupp 1,888 0.5
Independent Joe Grandanette 1,301 0.4
N/A Write-ins 195 0.1
Total votes 356,241 100.0
2020 Iowa 3rd Congressional District Democratic Primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Axne (incumbent) 76,681 99.2
N/A Write-ins 623 0.8
Total votes 77,304 100.0
2020 Iowa 3rd Congressional District General Election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Axne (incumbent) 219,205 48.9
Republican David Young 212,997 47.6
Libertarian Bryan Jack Holder 15,361 3.4
N/A Write-ins 384 0.1
Total votes 447,947 100.0
2022 Iowa 3rd Congressional District General Election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Zach Nunn 156,262 50.2
Democratic Cindy Axne (incumbent) 154,117 49.6
N/A Write-ins 534 0.2
Total votes 310,913 100.0

Post-congressional career

On June 7, 2023, Axne was appointed as Senior Advisor for Rural Engagement, Delivery and Prosperity to the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Biden Administration.

Personal life

Axne and her husband, John, operate a digital design firm. They have two sons and live in West Des Moines. They are members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines.

Axne is 6 feet (1.83 m) tall. She is of the same height as her former fellow House Democrat Lori Trahan.

See also

  • Women in the United States House of Representatives
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