Iowa has historically been a battleground state but has taken a right turn in the past decade.
Republicans won the governor’s office and the Iowa House in 2010 and maintain a strong likelihood of retaining both. Gov. Kim Reynolds is running ahead in fundraising and polling. Republicans won the Iowa Senate in 2016, and are well-positioned to retain control in that chamber.
Reynolds is pushing to end most abortions in the state, a position opposite of where most Iowans say they stand in polls. She’s worked to rally Republicans around a red-wave sweep of all major state elected offices.
Counter to that narrative, however, is a recent poll that shows longtime Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley facing his most challenging race yet against Mike Franken, a retired U.S. Navy admiral.
Iowa Democrats changed directions in the primary by supporting Mike Franken, a retired U.S. Navy admiral instead of former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer to run against Grassley.
Finkenauer had defeated a Republican incumbent in 2018 but served only one term, defeated in 2020 by Ashley Hinson. Finkenauer was one of the youngest elected House members and at age 33 made an issue of the generational difference with Grassley, 89.
Finkenauer nearly missed getting on the primary ballot after challenges were filed against her nominating petition claiming inadequate signatures. The Iowa Supreme Court, however, allowed her to be on the ballot. Franken, however, was favored by Democrats to take on Grassley and has proven to be a formidable challenger in the very close race.
Grassley, along with Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Reynolds and Iowa Attorney General candidate Brenna Bird, appeared at rally for former president Donald Trump Thursday, calling it “a wonderful opportunity” to reach voters.
In 2018, three of the four U.S. House seats were occupied by Democrats but in the 2020 election that reversed, and Republicans now hold three of the four seats. Democratic incumbent Democrat Cindy Axne faces a significant challenge from Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn and at least one of the Republican-held seats appears to be in contention with a strong Democratic challenger.
In other statewide races, Democrats have held on to attorney general and state treasurer offices for decades with Tom Miller the longest-serving attorney general in the nation and Mike Fitzgerald the longest-serving state treasurer. State Auditor Rob Sand took the office from a Republican incumbent in 2018.
Since 2000, Iowa has voted for Democratic presidents three times and Republicans three times.
In presidential contests, Iowans voted for Al Gore in 2000 by less than one percentage point but voted with the nation in electing George W. Bush in 2004. Barack Obama won Iowa in 2008 and 2012 but Donald Trump won the state in 2016 and 2020.
In the most recent voter registration data, Republicans are 36.6% of the registered voters and Democrats are 31.9%. Voters registered as no party are 30.5%.