Let’s take some time to talk about the 2020 Iowa Senate race. Two minutes, to be somewhat precise, and maybe a minute and 56 seconds to be exact.
When the 2020 campaign started, Joni Ernst was not in the endangered tier of Republican senators which included Martha McSally and Cory Gardner. It was a little bit further down the list of potentially competitive Senate races, so at first, the GOP did not give it much worry. If they did not back in the spring of 2020, they do now.
Polls have tightened some, however, as you will see in our below preview video. While Theresa Greenfield’s average lead was something more like five points earlier in October, it’s down to about two now. The Democratic candidate Greenfield still leads, but it is within the margin of error. Chances are the Republicans will need this one badly to at least preserve a 50-50 tie in the Senate and hope Donald Trump has another miracle win in him.
Ernst may not be a particularly popular senator, but she is not out of the race, especially when one considers that the top of the ticket could help her. Iowa, unlike a number of Midwest states, has in general been pro-Trump, even if by a narrow margin.
See our Electionarium two-minute preview of the 2020 Iowa Senate race for our take on how we see this unfolding.
The 2020 Iowa Senate Race in 2 Minutes
2020 Candidates for Iowa US Senate
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|Joni Ernst (R)||Incumbent US Senator (2015-)|
|Theresa Greenfield (D)||Real estate developer|
|Suzanne Herzog (I)||Registered nurse|
|Rick Stewart (Lbt)||Retiree|
The Bottom Line: Iowa Senate Race 2020
One thing is clear to us: if Joe Biden finds a way to win Iowa, Joni Ernst is toast. At this point, we expect Donald Trump to run ahead of her, or at a minimum run even with Ernst. Why? Trump has been tied or ahead in most Iowa polls, even if just by a few points. Ernst, for the most part, has been tied or behind. If only one wins their Iowa race, it’s going to be Trump.
If Ernst holds together the rural vote in much the same way that Kim Reynolds did, that will be a good sign for her as the ballots are counted. Should any cracks begin to appear in that wall of red counties throughout the state, however, that will be bad news for the senator. A winning Democratic candidate, like Barack Obama in 2012, will not win most counties in the state, but flip a dozen or two dozen of those smaller counties, and it could extrapolate out into a statewide win as it demonstrates a weakening of the GOP base.
Ernst is in for a tough end to the campaign, but not all hope is lost with recent tightening in the polls. However, we have this rated as a Democratic gain (weak lean) as of October 24. [See the remaining US Senate predictions on our prediction page.]