Open seats fueling interest in Iowa's primary election

May 29, 2014

A Buena Vista University political scientist says open seats are drawing more attention to this year’s Iowa primary election.

One of those seats is being vacated by longtime U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, who was elected in 1984. Five Republicans and one Democrat are seeking Harkin’s seat. Brad Best, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Buena Vista University, says that seat is being eyed by both parties because of its importance to the balance of power in the Senate.

"Democrats currently have a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, and Republicans see this open seat to narrow the Democrats’ advantage, if not establish themselves as the majority party in both houses of Congress."

In the Republican race for U.S. Senate, Best says it’s essentially a two-person contest, between Mark Jacobs and Joni Ernst.

Six Republicans are seeking the nomination for Iowa’s Third Congressional District, which includes Council Bluffs. Best says polling shows there are a large number of undecided voters in the Third District, and the race is competitive, with no clear front-runner.