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Iowa election 2022: Who’s running for governor and for Congress?

Iowa Primary
Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 17:39:49-05

With just four months until the primary election, Iowa’s congressional and governor races are starting to solidify.

Both Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley are up for reelection in 2022, although Reynolds has not officially announced her bid. Democratic candidates have lined up to challenge Reynolds, who was elected governor in 2018, and Grassley, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980.

U.S. House incumbents also face fierce challengers in 2022, as Iowa’s redistricted map shakes up the races. The new House map, approved in October by the Iowa Legislature, maintains three competitive districts and one GOP-leaning district.

Here’s where the race stands just four months until Iowa holds its primary election on June 7. Article last updated 2/7/22

Who’s running for Iowa governor in 2022?

Incumbent Reynolds, 62, has not officially announced her reelection plans, but she has a strong standing in the state. The latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found a majority of Iowans — 51% — approve of Reynolds’ job performance. Her campaign also reported a deep war chest coming into 2022, with $4.8 million cash on hand at the beginning of the year.

As of February, Democrats have just one challenger to Reynolds: Deidre DeJear, a 35-year-old Democratic activist and former candidate for secretary of state. DeJear officially kicked off her gubernatorial campaign on Aug. 14. She spoke to the Iowa Capital Dispatch on Aug. 20 about her campaign priorities and the future of the Democratic party in Iowa. 

DeJear had just $8,500 cash on hand at the beginning of 2022, but she told reporters in January that the campaign saw a boost as the year began.

DeJear also trails Reynolds in name recognition: A September Iowa poll found that three in four Iowans had not formed an opinion on DeJear. Just 10% of respondents had a favorable view of her.

State Rep. Ras Smith withdrew his gubernatorial bid in January, citing fundraising difficulties. Smith, 33, has represented Waterloo in the Iowa House since 2017. Smith announced in February he will not seek re-election in the House.

Who’s running for Iowa’s Senate seat in 2022?

Grassley, 88, announced in September that he will run for an eighth term in the U.S. Senate. If he wins in 2022, he will be 95 years old at the conclusion of that term.

Multiple Democrats have lined up to challenge Grassley.

Former 1st District representative Abby Finkenauer, 32, announced in July that she would challenge Grassley in 2022. She’s the most prominent Democrat to announce so far. She outraised Grassley in the third quarter of 2021 — but political analysts noted that Grassley announced late in the fundraising period and that he maintains impressive voter approval and recognition in the state.

The first Democrat to join the race was Dave Muhlbauer, a 37-year-old farmer and a former Crawford County supervisor. He published a campaign video in May that touted his family’s history in politics: both his father and grandfather served as Democrats in the Iowa House.

Doctor and Minden city council member Glenn Hurst, a 51-year-old Democrat, announced on July 29 he would run for Grassley’s seat.

Two more Democrats joined the race in October: Former Iowa Rep. Bob Krause, 71, and retired U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Franken, 64. Both men have previously sought a Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Grassley will also face a Republican primary challenge from state Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City. Carlin, 59, has aligned himself closely with former President Donald Trump, frequently invoking misinformation about the 2020 election. However, Trump endorsed Grassley during an October visit to Des Moines.

Sen. Joni Ernst, 51, will not be up for reelection until 2026.

Iowa Congressional Districts
Iowa’s congressional districts changed significantly in the 2021 redistricting session. (Maps by Iowa Legislative Services Agency)

Who’s running for Iowa’s 1st District in 2022?

Redistricting made things a little trickier for Iowa’s House races. Right now, Rep. Ashley Hinson represents Iowa’s 1st District, but she will reside in and run for the 2nd District in 2022.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, IA-02, announced in November that she will move into the 1st District and run for reelection there. Her home county of Wapello was drawn into the 3rd District in the new maps.

Miller-Meeks, 66, faces two challengers in the 1st District. State Rep. Christina Bohannan, a Democrat and University of Iowa law professor, announced her candidacy in August. In September, Democrat Joseph Kerner quietly entered the race and registered his campaign with the Federal Election Commission.

Who’s running for Iowa’s 2nd District in 2022?

Hinson, 38, will run in the 2nd District in 2022.

State Sen. Liz Mathis, a Democrat, will challenge Hinson in the new 2nd District. Both Hinson and Mathis, 63, are former television journalists who were coworkers at a Cedar Rapids TV station.

Who’s running for Iowa’s 3rd District in 2022?

Rep. Cindy Axne, 56, announced in November that she will seek reelection in the 3rd District. The two-term incumbent already faces several Republican challengers.

State Sen. Zach Nunn, 42, entered the race in July. Nunn represents Bondurant and has highlighted his Air Force career in campaign ads.

Republican Nicole Hasso also announced her candidacy in July. The Johnston resident released a campaign video that emphasizes her opposition as a Black woman to Critical Race Theory. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas endorsed Hasso on Aug. 12.

Gary Leffler, a Republican activist best known for his patriotic tractor, has also filed with the Federal Election Commission to challenge Axne.

Former Iowa Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa announced in April that she would seek Axne’s seat, but her home in Pottawattamie County was drawn into the new 4th District. Hanusa, 58, suspended her congressional campaign and will instead run against Democrat Rob Sand for State Auditor.

Who’s running for Iowa’s 4th District in 2022?

No Democrats have challenged first-term Rep. Randy Feenstra, 52.

Voter resources

Get ready for upcoming elections by registering to vote and marking your calendar for Election Day.

Primary elections for 2022 will be held on June 7, 2022. Iowa has closed primaries, which means that only registered Democrats or Republicans can participate in their party’s primary. Iowans can register with a party or change their party affiliation through the Secretary of State’s website.

The general election will take place on Nov. 8, 2022.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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