Theresa Greenfield is the Democratic Party’s nominee to go up against Republican Sen. Joni Ernst this fall.
The Associated Press called the race for Greenfield at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Polls closed across Iowa at 9 p.m.
Unofficial results from the Iowa Secretary of State show Greenfield, a former small business president, earned the support of 47.7% of Democratic primary voters. Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral, won 25% support. Kimberly Graham, an attorney, received 15% of the vote and businessman Eddie Mauro received 11%.
The Iowa race will feature prominently in Democrats’ efforts to take control of the Senate.
“There’s no doubt this will be a tough fight,” Greenfield said Tuesday night on Facebook Live, “but an uphill battle has never stopped me before. It’s going to take all of us working together to build a strong grassroots team.
“This is my promise to you,” she concluded. “I will never forget who I am, where I’m from and who I’m fighting for.”
Ernst was uncontested in the Republican primary as she seeks to win a second six-year term.
“I will continue to be your relentless fighter in the United States Senate,” Ernst said in a video message. “I appreciate your support and we are going to drive on to the general election. We are going to turn Iowa red, no doubt about it.”
Greenfield, backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, high-profile lawmakers and local endorsers from all 99 counties, came out of the gate last summer as the favorite to win this race. She raised more money than her Democratic competitors and twice out-raised Ernst.
Franken came out quickly Tuesday night with a statement endorsing Greenfield.
“It is thus with sadness but with profound respect that I concede this race,” Franken said. “I fully endorse Theresa Greenfield as she carries forth the mission of defeating Joni Ernst.”
Graham, in a statement on Twitter, described her campaign as part of a “movement for many kinds of justice. We have only begun.”
Mauro posted to Twitter: “It wasn’t the outcome we hoped for. But the fight must continue to defeat @joniernst. Congratulations @GreenfieldIowa”
Ernst, of Red Oak, in Southwest Iowa, is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection this year. For much of her first term, the retired Army lieutenant colonel was viewed favorably by a majority of Iowa voters. Recently, however, her approval rating has taken a nosedive. A March Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed Ernst with 47% support compared to a high point of 57% in February 2019.
When asked to gauge their support for President Donald Trump in the March poll, 50% of Iowans said they approve of his job performance. Trump and Ernst’s political fortunes in the state will likely be closely tied.
Though the nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently rates the race as “Lean Republican,” a May Public Policy Polling survey showed Greenfield trailing Ernst by one percentage point.
By Elizabeth Meyer
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6/3/20: This article was updated to include unofficial voting results from the Iowa Secretary of State.