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Sixteen candidates for U.S. House and Senate will be on the June primary ballot, including the ‘Trump tractor guy’


Voters cast their ballots at Horace Mann Elementary School in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. — photo by Zak Neumann

On Tuesday, the Iowa Secretary of State Office released an updated list of candidates for the U.S. House and Senate in the June 7 primary election. To be eligible for the ballot, candidates needed to file their nominating petitions and other paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office by the end of day on Friday. On Monday morning, it still wasn’t clear if the lone Democrat registering to run in western Iowa’s 4th Congressional District would qualify.

After a review of signatures, Ryan Melton of Nevada, Iowa, who works as a supervisor for Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, was added to the primary ballot. He is the only Democrat running for the seat, and first-term incumbent Randy Feenstra will not face a challenger for the Republican nomination. A Libertarian candidate, Bryan Jack Holder of Council Bluffs, will also appear on the ballot in the November general election in the 4th District, but candidates from parities that do not have “major party status” in Iowa or are running without party affiliation will not be included in the June primary.

There are no contested Democratic primaries in any of the U.S. House races, while there are two among Republicans. There are primary candidates on both sides in the contest for the U.S. Senate on the 2022 ballot.

U.S. House: Where does Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks live? and the return of Trump tractor guy

“Nancy Pelosi and Rita Hart have put us on a fast track to socialism,” Mariannette Miller-Meeks said in a campaign video posted to Twitter June 30, 2020.

In Iowa’s new 1st Congressional District, which includes Johnson County and covers much of southeast Iowa, state Rep. Christina Bohannan of Iowa City is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Bohannan, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, is currently in her first term in the Iowa House of Representatives.

According to the Secretary of State’s candidate list, Republican incumbent Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who was confirmed as the winner of the 2020 election after multiple recounts, still lives in Ottumwa. Miller-Meeks has lived in Ottumwa since the 1990s, but Ottumwa is not in the new 1st District.

Under the redistricting maps approved by the Iowa Legislature last year, all of Wapello County, including Ottumwa, is the 3rd Congressional District. Federal law doesn’t require a member of Congress to live in the district they represent, but it is traditional, and in November, Miller-Meeks said she would move to the 1st District, because it closely resembles the 2nd District, which she won by six votes in 2020. At the time, Miller-Meeks did not say when she planned to move.

Little Village emailed the Miller-Meeks campaign to ask which congressional district the candidate is currently living in, but has not yet received a reply.

Challenging Miller-Meeks for the Republican nomination is real estate company owner Kyle Kuehl of Bettendorf. Bettendorf is in the 1st District.

Iowa’s congressional district map, approved in 2021.

In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Linn County and much of northeastern Iowa, neither candidate is facing a primary challenger. First-term incumbent Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican, is unopposed, as is Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis.

Hinson won the seat in 2020 by defeating then-incumbent Abby Finkenauer.

In the 3rd District, incumbent Rep. Cindy Axne is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, but there will be three Republicans on the ballot in June. Nicole Hasso of Johnston, who describes herself as conservative, state Sen. Zach Nunn of Bondurant, who describes himself as conservative, and Gary Leffler of West Des Moines, best known as “the Trump tractor guy” are all running to represent their party in the November election.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the race in the overwhelmingly Republican 4th District is J.D. Scholten is not running for the Democrat nomination. After unsuccessful runs as the district’s Democratic nominee in 2018 and 2020, Scholten is running for the open Iowa Senate seat in the Sioux City area instead.

U.S. Senate: Three Democrats, two Republicans, one chance to be the oldest living senator

Three of the four declared Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate will be on the June ballot. The one exception was Bob Krause, who represented Burlington in the Iowa House in the 1970s, did not collect enough signatures on his nominating petition to qualify.

“Win or lose, I will elevate the battle of ideas,” Krause said in his campaign announcement video in October. During his five-month-long campaign, the candidate released two more videos: a biographical video in December and a video last month in which he asked people to sign his nominating petition.

The three Democrats on the ballot will be Abby Finkenauer of Cedar Rapids, Mike Franken of Sioux City and Glenn Hurst of Minden.

Finkenauer is the Democratic candidate with the highest fundraising totals and most support from Democratic political organizations. Finkenauer served one term in the U.S. House before losing to Ashley Hinson in 2020 by 2.5 percentage points.

Franken grew up in Iowa and after an almost 40-year career in the Navy, during which he rose to the rank of rear admiral, moved back to the state. In 2020, he ran for the Democratic nomination for Senate, but finished in second place, 23 percentage points behind winner Theresa Greenfield, who went on to lose to Sen. Joni Ernst in the general election.

Hust, a doctor and chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus, currently serves on the city council of Minden (pop. 600) in Pottawattamie County.

On the Republican side of the ballot, incumbent Chuck Grassley is the dominant figure. Grassley has been in elected office since 1959. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980. Grassley is currently the second-oldest member of the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who is three months older than Grassley, is not expected to run for reelection in 2024. If Grassley is elected to an eighth-term in November, and Feinstein leaves the Senate, he will become the oldest serving senator in January 2025. Grassley would be 91 years old at that time.

Grassley is facing a primary challenge from state Sen. Jim Carlin of Sioux City. Carlin is running to the right of Grassley and presenting himself as the candidate most loyal to Donald Trump’s vision of America. This approach is complicated by the fact that Trump endorsed Grassley for reelection in October.

Sen. Chuck Grassley accepts Trump’s endorsement, saying he “wouldn’t be too smart” to refuse it. Iowa State Fairgrounds, Oct. 9, 2021. — Jason Smith/Little Village

In addition to candidates for federal office, candidates for statewide office, the Iowa Legislature and county offices will be on the ballot in the June 7 primary.


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