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Theresa Greenfield will take on GOP Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa

Bridget Bowman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Real estate executive Theresa Greenfield won the Democratic primary Tuesday to take on Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in what will be one of the most hotly contested Senate races in November.

Greenfield was leading a four-candidate field with 46 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race with just 8 percent of precincts reporting. Retired three-star Navy Adm. Mike Franken was in second place with 26 percent, followed by lawyer Kimberly Graham with 15 percent and insurance broker Eddie Mauro with 12 percent. Ernst was unopposed in her primary.

Outside money poured into Iowa ahead of the primary, with much of it boosting Greenfield, who had the backing of state and national Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Greenfield early in the race.

Ernst is one of the most vulnerable senators running for reelection this fall. President Donald Trump won Iowa by 9 points in 2016, but Democrats believe the state can be competitive this year.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election Lean Republican.

Former President Barack Obama carried the state twice, and Democrats hold three of the state's four House seats, after flipping two in 2018.

Both of those House seats are in play again in 2020.

In the Cedar Rapids-based 1st District, freshman Democrat Abby Finkenauer is defending a seat that Trump carried by 4 points in 2016. As expected, state Rep. Ashley Hinson, whom Republicans have touted as a top recruit, easily won her primary Tuesday to take on Finkenauer, who was unopposed on the Democratic side.

Inside Elections rates the 1st District race Tilt Democratic.


In the 3rd District, which includes Des Moines, Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne faces a rematch against former GOP Rep. David Young, whom she unseated by 2 points in 2018. Axne was unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Young comfortably won his primary over Army veteran Bill Schafer.

Inside Elections rates the general election a Toss-up.

Both parties also picked their nominees in the open 2nd District, where Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack is retiring. The race for the 2nd, which includes Iowa's half of the Quad Cities, is the only open-seat contest where Democrats are defending a district that Trump carried in 2016.

The races for the open 2nd District and the 4th District, where Republican Rep. Steve King faced a fight for his political survival, were yet to be called.

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