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

By: - May 10, 2022 4:30 pm

The American flag and the Iowa flag fly on the grounds near the State Capitol in Des Moines. (Photo by Katie Akin/ Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Only two of Iowa’s federal races have contested primaries, with many races already winnowed down to one candidate per party in the weeks ahead of the June 7 primary election.

Both Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley are up for reelection in 2022, and all four of Iowa’s House races will be contested. But just two of the races have primary fields. Multiple Democrats are lined up for Grassley’s Senate seat, and three Republicans are competing to challenge Rep. Cindy Axne in the 3rd District.

Reynolds and the Republican incumbents in the U.S. House face just one Democratic candidate each in the march toward November’s general election.

Here’s where the race stands four weeks until Iowa holds its primary election on June 7. Article last updated 5/19/22

Who’s running for Iowa governor in 2022?

Incumbent Reynolds, 62, officially launched her reelection bid in March. She focused her campaign launch on freedom, promising “Iowa is going to be a state where you can live your life freely,” if she is reelected.

Deidre DeJear is a Democratic candidate for governor. (Photo courtesy of DeJear campaign)

As of May, 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. 

Reynolds leads DeJear in polling and fundraising numbers. A March Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found 51% of Iowans would vote for Reynolds in a match-up with DeJear. Just 43% said they would favor DeJear, and 5% said they were not sure who they would vote for.

Reynolds also reported a deep war chest coming into 2022, with $4.8 million cash on hand at the beginning of the year. 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.

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, 33, announced in July that she would run for Senate in 2022. She was nearly removed from the primary ballot after two Republicans challenged her candidacy, arguing Finkenauer had not collected enough signatures on her nominating petitions. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously in April that Finkenauer may appear on the ballot

Doctor and Minden city council member Glenn Hurst, a 52-year-old Democrat, announced on July 29 he would run for Grassley’s seat. Hurst has framed himself as the most progressive Democrat in the race, frequently speaking in favor of Medicare for All.

Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Franken, 64, joined the race in October. He sought a Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2020, but lost the primary. Franken outraised Finkenauer in the first three months of 2022, according to campaign filings, but both Democrats trailed fundraising by Grassley.

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. However, Trump endorsed Grassley during an October visit to Des Moines.

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

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 one challenger in the 1st District. State Rep. Christina Bohannan, a Democrat and University of Iowa law professor, announced her candidacy in August.

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

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’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 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. Leffler has not filed any campaign finance reports since launching his campaign

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

First-term Rep. Randy Feenstra, 53, faces one opponent in the 4th District. Democrat Ryan Melton, 37, is an insurance supervisor in Story County. Melton raised just $1,477 in the first quarter of 2022.

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.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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