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

By: - June 13, 2022 6:00 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)

Early voting starts in Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 19, for the November general election, where Republicans are working to hold onto their trifecta control in the Statehouse, as well as their U.S. congressional seats. Democrats are working to flip seats and retain Democratic incumbents like U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne.

All of Iowa’s U.S. House seats and the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Chuck Grassley are contested in the general election. Gov. Kim Reynolds and all of the other statewide officeholders also face challenges.

Here’s where the race stands as Iowa ramps up to the Nov. 8 general election. Article last updated 10/18/22

Who’s running for Iowa governor in 2022?

Gov. Kim Reynolds is a Republican and Iowa’s first female governor. (Photo courtesy of the governor’s office)

Incumbent Reynolds, 63, is running for her second full term in office. She officially launched her reelection bid in March with the promise that “Iowa is going to be a state where you can live your life freely,” if she is reelected. Reynolds is campaigning on continued work in the Iowa Legislature on issues like school choice and abortion.

As the U.S. and Iowa Supreme Courts ruled there was no constitutional rights to an abortion, Reynolds has asked state courts to lift a 2019 injunction against Iowa’s fetal-heartbeat law.

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

The Democratic challenger is 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  about her campaign priorities and the future of the Democratic party in Iowa.  

DeJear called for the state government to use its budget surplus to increase education and mental health funding at the Iowa State Fair in August. She also advocated for gun safety regulations following an Ames shooting in June.

Reynolds has consistently led DeJear in polling and fundraising during the midterm campaign season. An October Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found the governor held a 17-percentage point lead over DeJear. While the margin of Reynolds’ lead remained the same from the July poll, more likely voters said they would support her, rising from 48% to 52%.

DeJear went from 31% of poll respondents favoring her in July to 35% in October. But over half of Iowans, 51%, said they did not know enough about the Democratic candidate to form an opinion.

DeJear started 2022 with just $8,500 cash on hand, but raised more than $820,000 in the lead up to the primary, according to June campaign filings. In the same time, Reynolds raised more than $1.4 million and has nearly $5 million in her campaign account.

Libertarian candidate Rick Stewart trailed in the Iowa Poll with 4% support from likely voters. His campaign centers on psychedelic drug therapy as a way to address gun violence and mental health care.

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

Grassley, 89, 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. He was endorsed by former President Donald Trump last fall.

Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Franken, 64, won the Democratic Senate primary. Franken said his nearly four decades of military service and rural Iowa roots would help him win over independents and some moderate Republicans in his campaign against Grassley.

Grassley has served as Iowa’s senator for over four decades. While he has maintained a lead in the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll leading up to the midterms, he faces a much tighter margin than in previous election cycles. The October Iowa Poll found the senator has just a 3-point lead against Franken, at 46% to 43%. The difference falls in the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points for likely voters.

Franken’s greatest increase in support came from independents. In October, 46% of likely voters who identified as politically independent supported the Democrat, compared to Grassley’s 35%. Independent support grew by 8% since the July Iowa Poll, when 38% supported Franken, nearly evenly split with Grassley at 37%.

The former admiral has also raised nearly twice as much as Grassley in the most recent campaign finance reporting period. Franken reported raising around $3.6 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30, while Grassley raised around $1.7 million.

But Grassley has continued to maintain his lead in available funds, with $3.5 million cash on hand, according to the campaign filings. Franken’s campaign reported $1.3 million cash on hand.

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 will reside in the 2nd District, where she is running for representative.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, elected to represent Iowa’s 2nd District, announced in November that she would 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.

In her campaign announcement, Miller-Meeks, 66, said she would stand up against “Washington Democrats and their socialist agenda” if re-elected. She does not support legislation to restrict access to guns, she said on the campaign trail following the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. The representative voted against raising the legal age to buy most semiautomatic rifles to 21.

Miller-Meeks, 66, faces one challenger in the 1st District. State Rep. Christina Bohannan, a Democrat and University of Iowa law professor, announced her campaign in August. She’s campaigned on supporting public education, better access to health care and stopping inflation.

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, is running in the 2nd District in 2022.

State Sen. Liz Mathis, a Democrat, is challenging Hinson in the new 2nd District. Both Hinson and Mathis, 63, are former television journalists.

Hinson has called for increasing border security, and supports completing the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. She’s also one of the leading supporters of bills researching natural disasters and support victims, following Iowa’s 2020 derecho.

Children’s mental health is a leading issue for Mathis, who worked on bipartisan mental health bills in the Iowa Legislature. Her legislative and advocacy experience qualifies her for the seat, she said in an interview with The Des Moines Register.

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

Rep. Cindy Axne, 56, announced in November that she will seek re-election in the 3rd District. Axne is Iowa’s sole Democrat in Washington: She now faces State Sen. Zach Nunn, 43, who won the Republican nomination with 65.75% of the vote.

Axne currently serves on the Financial Services Committee and Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House. She supported President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” spending proposal, and having worked with a bipartisan group to advocate for more biofuel investment.

Nunn said voters want a new representative to take on problems like inflation, gas prices and supply chain issues. He highlighted his experience in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature, as well as his three overseas combat tours with the U.S. Air Force.

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 has just more than $5,800 cash on hand, where Feenstra has more than $900,000.

It’s Feenstra’s second election for the seat after defeating longtime Rep. Steve King in the 2020 primary. He said in an interview with KCCI he wants to return to Washington to work on issues like controlling inflation and securing the U.S. border. He has the support of many high-profile conservatives: Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is headlining one of his June fundraisers.

Melton said he got into the race to ensure a Democrat would be on the ballot in the historically red district. Iowans in the 4th District are being “left behind,” he told the Carroll Times Herald, and said tax cuts like the ones Feenstra supported are part of the problem.

Who’s running for Iowa’s other statewide offices?

Secretary of State: Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, 66, won the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate in the general election.

Miller said he was motivated to run for statewide office after Trump’s presidential campaign sued Miller for sending prefilled absentee ballot request forms to voters. A judge ruled in favor of the campaign, invalidating 50,000 request forms sent by Miller’s office.

State auditor: Todd Halbur of Clive won the primary race to challenge incumbent Democrat Rob Sand in the general election by a narrow margin. Halbur is the former chief financial officer for the state Alcoholic Beverages Division. He’s a small business owner of a school supply company and a Realtor.

Attorney General: Democrat Tom Miller, the longest-serving state attorney general in the United States, is being challenged by Republican Guthrie County Attorney Brenna Bird of Dexter. Bird says she’ll make it a priority to litigate against “overreach” by the Biden administration. Miller argues that is not the primary role of the office and that he’ll work for the interests of “ordinary Iowans,” including challenging big-tech monopolies. Read more

State treasurer: Democratic incumbent Mike Fitzgerald will face Republican state Sen. Roby Smith of Davenport.

Fitzgerald, first elected in 1983, is the longest-serving state treasurer in the country. He says if reelected, he will build on programs he initiated in office, including Iowa’s Iowa’s 529 College Saving Programs, which invests and distributes money to help families save for higher education costs free of federal and state taxes.

Smith, who has served in the Iowa Senate since 2011, said during a debate in October that he would advocate for tax cuts in the Legislature and he faulted Fitzgerald for not registering in favor of recent Republican tax-cut legislation. Fitzgerald responded that it was the role of legislators, not the treasurer, to set tax policy for the state. Read more

Secretary of agriculture:  Republican incumbent Mike Naig will face Democrat John Norwood. Naig was first elected to the position in elected secretary in 2018. He was appointed to the post earlier that year when his predecessor Bill Northey took a leadership job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Norwood is a West Des Moines business consultant and county soil and water commissioner. He says Iowa needs a better-coordinated plan to accelerate conservation and water-quality improvements, which includes taking a substantial amount of cropland out of production.

Naig defends Iowa’s voluntary water-quality programs as effective and says Iowa has made progress with programs such as the establishment of wetlands to to contain nitrogen fertilizer runoff. He says he’s worked successfully to expand markets for Iowa farm products and increasing the debate for biofuels. Read more

Voter resources

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

The 2022 general election will be held November 8, 2022. Learn more about early voting and voter identification requirements on the Iowa Secretary of State website.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.