Preliminary 2020 Election Wrap-Up

The 2020 General Election turned out to be a big surprise compared to the publicly available polling and predictions by both major political parties in the weeks leading up to the election. Iowa was in the spotlight with the election predicted to be competitive at the presidential level, but also for the U.S. Senate race and three out the state’s four congressional districts. The Iowa House of Representatives was also a major target for Democrats looking to break the Republican trifecta in the Statehouse. Overall, Republicans in Iowa far exceeded their own predictions riding a President Trump win in the state. Below is a preliminary outline of results in Iowa and nationally; please note these are not final, certified results.



The race for President of the United States has yet to be decided with incumbent Republican President Trump overperforming the public predictions for Southern and Sun Belt States and Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden performing well in the Rust Belt and Northern states. States yet to be called by all outlets include Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. There are likely going to be challenges to the results and recount efforts will likely be requested in the coming days and weeks.


In Iowa, President Trump was declared the winner with 53% of the vote compared to Vice President Biden’s 45%. This is nearly in line with President Trump’s 9% win in Iowa in 2016.



Iowa’s U.S. Senate race was in the national spotlight as it could help determine whether Republicans or Democrats controlled the chamber. Incumbent Republican Senator Joni Ernst was up for reelection after serving her first term and was challenged by Democrat businesswoman and former congressional candidate Theresa Greenfield. Throughout the election this race was considered a toss-up, but Senator Ernst tracked well with President Trump’s win in the state. Currently, the race stands at 52% for Republican Senator Ernst and 45% for Greenfield.


Nationally, the race for the U.S. Senate majority is up in the air. Democrats have flipped the Colorado seats so far, but Republicans have flipped Alabama and held their incumbents in close races including Maine. Races in Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona are still too close to call.


U.S. House of Representatives

Iowa’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is currently set to have three new members with only incumbent Democrat Cindy Axne winning her reelection campaign in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. Two seats were open and will have new representation and incumbent Democrat Abby Finkenauer has conceded to former Republican State Representative Ashley Hinson in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.


An overview of the races as they stand:



Incumbent Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque) has been defeated by State Representative Ashley Hinson (R-Marion) in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, 51.3% to 48.7%.



With the retirement of Congressman Dave Loebsack (D –Iowa City), Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District became an open, competitive seat. Former State Senator and Lt. Governor candidate Rita Hart (D-Clinton) ran against State Senator and fourth-time IA-02 candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa). Currently, the race is too close to call with Miller-Meeks leading by just 286 votes. If Miller-Meeks goes on to win, it would flip the district from Democrat to Republican.



Incumbent Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-West Des Moines) was declared the winner over former Congressman David Young (R-Van Meter) in a 2016 and 2018 rematch. Axne currently leads 49.0% to 47.6%.



State Senator Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) defeated sitting Congressman Steve King (R–Kiron) in the June republican primary to go on to face J.D. Scholten (D-Sioux City) in the General Election. Feenstra was declared the winner over Scholten holding the seat for Republicans. Feenstra currently leads 62.1% to 37.9%.


Nationally, there are many contested U.S. House of Representatives races still coming in and predictions point to Democrats maintaining their majority, but the size of that majority is currently in question with Republicans flipping some Democrat-held seats thus far.



Prior to the election, Republicans held a 32-18 majority in the Iowa Senate. Initial results indicate that Republicans will maintain their 31-18 majority as they lost one Republican seat and flipped one Democrat-held seat.  Democrats picked up the seat formerly held by Republican Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) where Democrat Sarah Trone Garriott defeated Republican Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena (R-Clive). Republicans defeated incumbent Senator Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant). Republicans and Democrats were able to defend all of their other seats with an incumbent or a retirement. Should State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) win in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race, a special election for her State Senate seat will be held. Overall, there will be 8 new senators joining the chamber.


The seven new Republican members include: 

Jeff Taylor, District 2, Sioux Center – filled open seat vacated by State Senator Randy Feenstra

Craig Steven Williams, District 6, Manning – filled open seat vacated by retiring Senator Mark Segebart

Jesse Greene, District 24, Harcourt – filled open seat vacated by retiring Senator Jerry Behn

Mike Klimesh, District 28, Spillville – filled open seat vacated by retiring Senator Michael Breitbach

Dawn Driscoll, District 38, Williamsburg – filled open seat vacated by retiring Senator Tim Kapucian

Jeff Reichman, District 42, Montrose – defeated Democrat Senator Rich Taylor

Tim Goodwin, District 44, Burlington, filled open seat vacated by retiring Senator Tom Greene


The only new Democratic member is:

Sarah Trone Garriott, District 22, Windsor Heights – flipped open seat formerly held by Senator Charles Schneider


Senate Republicans plan to meet on Friday to elect their leadership. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver is expected to remain in his post, but the Senate President position is currently vacant due to Charles Schneider retiring. New committee chairs and assignments will likely be announced shortly after that meeting.



Prior to the election, the Iowa House stood with 53 Republicans to 47 Democrats. With President Trump’s strong performance in Iowa, House Republicans increased their majority to 59 – 41 defeating six Democrat incumbents and winning one open Democrat seat while holding all of their Republican incumbent seats and losing just one open seat. Democrats were only able to flip one open seat from Republicans. Overall, there will be 18 new members joining the Iowa House of Representatives in January.


The 14 new Republican members are:

Dennis Bush, District 3, Cleghorn – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Dan Huseman

Henry Stone, District 7, Forest City– filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Tedd Gassman

Brent Siegrist, District 16, Council Bluffs– filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Mary Ann Hanusa

Carter Nordman, District 19, Adel – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Chris Hagenow

Brooke Boden, District 26, Indianola – defeated Democrat Representative Scott Ourth

Garrett Gobble, District 38, Ankeny – defeated Democrat Representative Heather Matson

Eddie Andrews, District 39, Johnston – defeated Democrat Representative Karin Derry

Shannon Latham, District 54, Sheffield – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Linda Upmeyer

Steven Bradley, District 58, Cascade – defeated Democrat Representative Andy McKean

Chad Ingels, District 64, Randalia – flipped open seat vacated by retiring Representative Bruce Bearinger

Cherielynn Westrich, District 81, Ottumwa – defeated Democrat Representative Mary Gaskill

Martin Graber, District 83, Fort Madison – defeated Democrat Representative Jeff Kurtz

Mark Cisneros, District 91, Muscatine – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Gary Carlson

Charlie McClintock, District 95, Alburett – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Louis Zumbach


The 4 new Democrat members are:

Steve Hansen, District 14, Sioux City – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Timothy Kacena

Eric Gjerde, District 67, Cedar Rapids – flipped open seat vacated by retiring Representative Ashley Hinson

Sue Cahill, District 71, Marshalltown – filled open seat vacated by retiring Representative Mark Smith

Christina Bohannan, District 85, Newton – won Democratic primary against Representative Vicki Lensing and was unopposed in the General Election


House Republicans will likely meet in the coming weeks to elect their leadership, but Speaker Pat Grassley and House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl are expected to maintain their posts. New committee chairs and assignments will likely be announced in December.