DES MOINES, Iowa — After a rough 2022 midterm election season, the Iowa Democratic Party is looking into the future as the party elected a new chair early on Saturday.

During a state central committee meeting Iowa Democrats elected Rita Hart as the new chair.

Hart was a state senator, representing Iowa’s 49th district from 2013 to 2019. She ran as lieutenant governor with Fred Hubbell headlining the ticket in the gubernatorial election in 2018. Most recently, Hart challenged Mariannette Miller-Meeks in 2020 for Iowa’s 2nd congressional district. She lost that election by six votes.

“My focus is squarely on helping our party win elections again,” said Rita Hart before the election. “I am under no illusions that this will be easy and I know this will take time, but I am heartened by the support I have from the SCC and from folks across our state.”

Iowa Democrats in the past have said they need to focus on communicating their message more efficiently in rural communities. Hart said she has learned more about how important grassroot efforts are due to her recent time as the chair of the Clinton County Democrats.