Primary contests set for all Iowa congressional seats

Here are how Senate, House and legislative races shape up

#x201c;I Voted Today#x201d; stickers are seen on a table at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City for voters on Tuesda
“I Voted Today” stickers are seen on a table at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City for voters on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The June 2 primary election ballot will offer Iowans plenty of choices, including a five-way race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination as well as contests for places on the ballot in congressional and legislative races.

Friday afternoon was the deadline for filing with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. The full list of candidates whose petitions have been accepted might not be available until Monday morning, according to Secretary of State Paul Pate.

United States Senate

At the top of the ticket, five Democrats are in the running to face GOP Sen. Joni Ernst, who is seeking a second term

The Democrats are Michael Franken of Sioux City, Kimberly Graham of Indianola, and Theresa Greenfield, Eddie Mauro and Cal Woods, all of Des Moines.

To win, one of them must get at least 35 percent of the primary vote. If not, a challenger will be determined at a state nominating convention.

Libertarian Rick Stewart of Cedar Rapids has filed for the Senate, as has Suzanne Herzog of West Des Moines, who is not affiliated with any party.

United States House

There will be primary contests in each of the state’s four congressional districts.

In the 1st District, freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque is unopposed. Republicans Thomas Hansen of Decorah and state Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion will square off. Hinson has been running a more aggressive campaign and has the backing of state and national congressional Republican leaders.

In the 2nd District, Rep. Dave Loebsack is retiring. Democrat Rita Hart of Wheatland, a former state senator, is unopposed. There is a five-way race for the GOP nomination there.


The candidates are Tim Borchardt of Iowa City, Steven Everly of Knoxville, state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa, Rick Phillips of Pella and Bobby Schilling of Le Claire. Schilling and Miller-Meeks have been actively campaigning for the nomination.

In the 3rd District, Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne is unopposed. Former Rep. David Young of Van Meter is hoping for a rematch, but must defeat Bill Schafer of Prole. GOP Rep. Steve King faces four challengers in the 4th District. They are state Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull, Steven Reeder of Arnolds Park, Bret Richards of Irwin and Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City, a former state representative.

Democrat J.D. Scholten of Sioux City is unopposed.

Iowa Legislature

In the Iowa Legislature, Republicans are looking to maintain control of the Senate, where it has a 32-18 majority, as well as in the House, where the margin of control is narrower — 53-47.

Eight GOP incumbents are retiring, but House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, is confident Republicans will maintain their majority. He was encouraged by a generic ballot poll that showed Republicans led in the races for four U.S. House seats. It also showed that a 46 percent of Iowans think the country is on the right track.

“I think that’s a good sign for us going into the election,” Grassley told reporters Thursday.

The GOP confidence rests in part on running eight candidates in nine House districts represented by Democrats, but were carried by Ernst, Gov. Kim Reynolds and President Donald Trump.

However, House Minority Leader Todd Prichard, D-Charles City, said his party is well-positioned “to turn the House blue.”

“Just four seats from the majority, the first step in winning back the Iowa House is fielding strong candidates who fit their districts,” Prichard said. “We start the cycle on an even playing field: 45 Democratic incumbents are running for reelection and, after another big wave of retirements, 45 Republican incumbents are running for reelection.”

Democrats have recruited “blue chip” candidates in four competitive districts, he said


“We’re ready to get to work, listen to the people of Iowa, and flip the House in November, Prichard said.

Seven Republican Senate incumbents are retiring, but Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said the party is in “an outstanding position to retain a strong majority.”

“The quality of our candidates is consistent with the high standard of the members of our caucus,” Whitver said. “I look forward to working with them to communicate our message of tax relief, pro-growth reforms and fiscal responsibility.”

Area legislative filings

In Linn County:

House 65 — Cedar Rapids Democratic Rep. Liz Bennett is unopposed.

House 66 — Cedar Rapids Democratic Rep. Art Staed is unopposed.

House 67 — Republican Sally Ann Abbott and Democrat Eric Gjerde are facing off for the seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion. Both are from Cedar Rapids.

House 68 — Marion Republican Lou Rogers is challenging Cedar Rapids Democratic Rep. Molly Donahue.

House 69 — Cedar Rapids Democratic Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt is unopposed.

House 70 — Cedar Rapids Democratic Rep. Tracy Ehlert is unopposed.

In Johnson County:

House 74 — (which also includes Cedar County as well as part of Muscatine County) Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton is being challenged by Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek of Iowa City.

House 74 — Democratic Rep. Dave Jacoby of Coralville is unopposed.

House 77 — Democratic Rep. Amy Nielsen of North Liberty is unopposed.

House 85 — Iowa City Democratic Rep. Vicki Lensing faces primary challenger Christina Bohannan, Both are from Iowa City.

House 86 — Iowa City Democratic Rep. Mary Mascher is unopposed.

Around the area:

Senate 28 — Spillville Mayor Mike Klimesh, a Republican, will face Democratic Decorah businessman Matt Tapscott for a seat held by GOP Sen. Michael Breitbach of Strawberry Point.


Senate 32 — Republican Sen. Craig Johnson of Independence will be challenged by Democrat Pam Egli of Waverly.

Senate 34 — Hiawatha Democratic Sen. Liz Mathis is unopposed.

Senate 38 — Bruce Adams, Dawn Driscoll and Garrett Dozark, all of Williamsburg, are seeking the Republican nomination in an open-seat race to succeed Republican Sen. Tim Kapucian of Keystone. Democrat Ivy Schuster of Searsboro also is running.

Senate 42 — Democratic Sen. Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant will face the winner of the GOP primary contest between Nancy Amos of Mount Pleasant and Jeff Reichman of Montrose.

House 55 — Republican Rep. Michael Bergan of Dorchester will face a rematch with Democrat Kayla Koether of Decorah.

House 56 — Republican Rep. Anne Osmundson of Volga is unopposed.

House 57 — Republican Rep. Shannon Lundgren of Peosta is unopposed.

House 58 — Republican-turned-Democrat Rep. Andy McKean of Anamosa will face Republican Steven Bradley of Cascade.

House 64 — Oelwein Democratic Rep. Bruce Bearinger is unopposed.

House 72 — Montour Republican Rep. Dean Fisher will face Democrat Christina Blackcloud of Tama.

House 75 — Atkins Republican Thomas Gerhold will face Democrat Ruby Bodeker of Vinton.

House 78 — Keota Republican Rep. Jarad Klein is unopposed.

House 84 — Republican Rep. Joe Mitchell will be challenged by Democrat Jeff Fager. Both are from Mount Pleasant.

House 95 — Democrat Christian Andrews of Mount Vernon will face the winner of the GOP primary between Charlie McClintock of Alburnett and Phil High of Marion.


House 96 — Republican Rep. Lee Hein will face Democrat Everett Chase. Both are from Monticello.

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