IOWA
     Nov. 3, 2020 Senate                                      

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+Joni Ernst (R) i
864,997
51.74%
Theresa Greenfield (D)
754,859
45.15%
Rick Stewart (L) 36,961
2.21%
Suzanne Herzog (I)
13,800
0.83%
write-ins
1,211


1,671,828

Registration (Nov. 2): 2,095,580.  Dem. 699,001 (33.36%)   Rep. 719,591 (34.34%)  No Party 659,487 (31.47%)   Other 17,501 (0.84%).

Total votes: 1,700,130.
Plurality: 110,138 votes (6.59 percentage points).

 Iowa Secretary of State




Notes: 
Sen. Joni Ernst (R), seeking a second term, defeated real estate executive Theresa Greenfield (D), Rick Stewart (L), a retired small businessperson, and Suzanne Herzog (I), an economist and former ER nurse.  Ernst was a top target for Democrats as they sought to regain a majority in the Senate. 
According to the Center for Responsive Politics this race, with total spending of $258.8 million, was the third most expensive ever at the time (pushed to fifth after the Georgia runoffs >).

Five Democrats vied for the 2020 U.S. Senate nomination. 
Greenfield, president at the property management company Colby Interests, had sought the 3rd CD nomination in 2018, but failed to qualify after her campaign manager falsified signatures.  She announced her candidacy on June 3, 2019 (>) and the DSCC endorsed her on June 6.  Greenfield finished first in the June 2, 2020 primary with 47.7% of the vote followed by retired three-star admiral Michael Franken (24.9%), Indianola attorney Kimberly Graham (15.0%), president of UIG insurance and former teacher Eddie Mauro (11.0%) and Cal Woods (1.2%).  Ernst did not have a primary challenger.
 
Ernst and Greenfield participated in three debates.  The first, the Iowa Press Debate, took place in Iowa PBS studios in Johnston on Sept. 28 (>); the candidates and moderators were seated around a table separated by plexiglass barriers.  The second, hosted by WHO-TV, occurred on Oct. 3 (>); the candidates and moderator Dave Price were in studio.  The final, hosted by the Des Moines Register, KCCI, KTIV and KWWL, took place on Oct. 15 (>); the moderators were in studio and the candidates appeared remotely, Ernst from Washington, DC and Greenfield from Altoona.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, of the $258.8 million in spending, $85.5 million was by the campaigns and $173.3 million by outside groups; of the top ten most expensive races only North Carolina had a higher proportion of outside money.  The Ernst campaign raised $30.3 million, spent $29.9 million and finished with cash on hand of $528,415.  The Greenfield campaign raised and spent $55.6 million.  Sixteen outside groups spent more than $1 million on this race, led on the Democratic side by Senate Majority PAC ($41.4 million), DSCC ($28.4 million) and Women Vote!, the EMILY's List affiliate ($5.9 million) and on the Republican side by Senate Leadership Fund ($32.2 million), NRSC ($19.8 million) and Plains PAC ($11.7 million).

President Trump ran ahead of Ernst, finishing with a margin of 9.00 percentage points over Biden, compared to Ernst's 6.59 percentage points over Greenfield.


There were some similarities between this race and the race in Maine; in both the DSCC endorsed early, the major party nominees were both women, total campaign spending exceeded $200 million, and the Democrat ended up losing.

In a post-election memo, Ernst campaign manager Sam Pritchard wrote, "
Money can buy a lot of political ads, but it cannot buy the pure Iowa grassroots energy, momentum and enthusiasm that we saw behind Joni Ernst in the closing days (+)."


Campaign Managers
Joni Ernst:  Sam Pritchard
(2019)  Regional director for Sen. Ernst, Jan. 2015-Dec. 2018.  House Majority Fund field director for the Iowa Republican Party, May-Nov. 2014.  M.B.A. from University of Iowa, 2018; B.A., B.S in marketing, politics from Drake University, 2014.  Cedar Rapids native.

Theresa Greenfield:  Jordanna "Jordy" Zeigler
Campaign manager on Laura Kelly for Governor (KS), 2018.  Western political director at EMILY's List.  Western regional candidate services director at the DCCC in 2012.






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