United States Senate election in Iowa, 2010

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United States Senate election in Iowa, 2010
2004 ←
November 2, 2010 → 2016

  Sen Chuck Grassley official.jpg Roxanne Conlin crop.jpg
Nominee Chuck Grassley Roxanne Conlin
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 718,215 371,686
Percentage 64.35% 33.30%

Iowa Senatorial Election Results by County, 2010.svg

County results

U.S. Senator before election

Chuck Grassley

Elected U.S. Senator

Chuck Grassley

The 2010 United States Senate election in Iowa took place on November 2, 2010, alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections in Iowa. The party primary elections were held on June 8, 2010.[1] Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley won re-election to a sixth term.

Republican primary[edit]



Republican primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 197,194 98.0
Republican Write-ins 3,926 2.0
Total votes 201,120 100

Democratic primary[edit]



Three Democrats sought the Democratic nomination. Former State Representative and Iowa Department of Transportation official Bob Krause drew attention for implying that Grassley had been in office too long, remarking to supporters in Des Moines: "As a good farmer, Sen. Grassley must recognize that 51 years, or 58 years at the end of his term, is a long time to go without rotating crops."[3] Both Krause and former State Senator Tom Fiegen cited Grassley's support of deregulating the financial services industry as reasons for running. Krause said, "Please remember that Farmer Grassley was one that opened the barn door and let the cow out at AIG,"[3] while Fiegen, a bankruptcy lawyer, has made reducing unemployment and tightening regulation of the financial services industry the cornerstones of his campaign.[4]

Former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan said that he had recruited trial lawyer Roxanne Conlin to challenge Grassley.[5] Kiernan's virtual endorsement of Conlin prior to her announcement[6] drew the ire of party members, as it is counter to party rules when there is more than one candidate from the party competing in a primary race. Conlin had been criticized for being unwilling to debate her primary opponents,[7] and for being unfamiliar with and unsupportive of her own party's platform.[8]

On health care, Fiegen and Krause supported a public option,[9][10] while Conlin didn't state a position, which she had been criticized for. Krause and Feigen claimed she supported supply-side economics.[11] She also displayed an unfamiliarity with the Iowa Democratic Party's platform, repeatedly claiming there was no platform for her to support until after the June 12, 2010 convention.[8][12][13][14]


Democratic primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roxanne Conlin 52,715 77.5
Democratic Bob Krause 8,728 12.9
Democratic Tom Fiegen 6,357 9.4
Democratic Write-ins 177 0.2
Total votes 67,977 100.00

General election[edit]



Incumbent Chuck Grassley started the campaign moderately popular, but his approval ratings dropped somewhat during the campaign.[15] However, the seat continued to be considered to be "Safe Republican" by many sources, with CQ Politics noting that Grassley is "one of Iowa's most durable politicians."[16]

Conlin described herself as a "prairie progressive." She supported the recent landmark case of Varnum v. Brien, which legalized gay marriage in the state. She also supported repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."[17]

Before the election, former political advisor John Maxwell claimed that Grassley would have his toughest race since his first U.S. Senate election in 1980, where he defeated incumbent John Culver with 53% of the vote. Grassley won all of his four re-election bids with nearly 70% of the vote against unknown opponents.[18] Grassley won the election with 64.51% of the vote.


Grassley and Conlin only agreed to one debate. It was on October 26 on Des Moines radio station WHO and Iowa Public Television.[19]


Source Ranking As of
Cook Political Report Solid R[20] October 21, 2010
Rothenberg Safe R[21] October 15, 2010
Swing State Project Safe R[citation needed]
RealClearPolitics Safe R[22] October 21, 2010
Sabato's Crystal Ball Safe R[23] October 21, 2010
CQ Politics Safe R[24] October 21, 2010


Poll source Dates administered Chuck Grassley (R) Roxanne Conlin (D)
Des Moines Register October 26–29, 2010 61% 30%
Rasmussen Reports September 22–23, 2010 55% 37%
Des Moines Register September 19–22, 2010 61% 30%
Rasmussen Reports August 5, 2010 55% 35%
Rasmussen Reports June 14, 2010 54% 37%
Public Policy Polling May 25–27, 2010 57% 31%
KCCI May 3–5, 2010 49% 40%
Rasmussen Reports April 29, 2010 53% 40%
Rasmussen Reports March 17, 2010 55% 36%
Rasmussen Reports February 22, 2010 53% 36%
KCCI-TV February 15–17, 2010 56% 35%
Rasmussen Reports January 26, 2010 59% 31%
DailyKos/Research 2000 October 12–14, 2009 51% 39%


Candidate (party) Receipts Disbursements Cash on hand Debt
Charles Grassley (R) $5,566,686 $4,962,347 $3,457,651 $6,913,216
Roxanne Conlin (D) $3,070,816 $2,653,914 $416,901 $100,000
Source: Federal Election Commission[25]


United States Senate election in Iowa, 2010[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 718,215 64.35% -5.83%
Democratic Roxanne Conlin 371,686 33.30% +5.43%
Libertarian John Heiderscheit 25,290 2.27%
Write-ins 872 0.08%
Majority 346,529 31.05% -11.26%
Turnout 1,116,063
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ Winner List Primary Election – June 8, 2010 Iowa Secretary of State
  2. ^ a b http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/2010/canvsummary.pdf
  3. ^ a b Thomas Beaumont (March 29, 2009). "Democrat says Grassley has been in Senate too long". KCCI. 
  4. ^ "Iowa Democrat to Challenge Grassley - The Eye (CQ Politics)". Blogs.cqpolitics.com. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  5. ^ "Conlin approached about Senate race in January". GazetteOnline.com. 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  6. ^ "Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan: September 25, 2009 » Iowa Press » Iowa Public Television". Iptv.org. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  7. ^ Democrat senate hopefuls turn attacks to each other - Surprising public clash sparked by disagreement over debate schedule, http://iowaindependent.com/32031/democrat-senate-hopefuls-turn-attacks-on-each-other
  8. ^ a b Hugs4u says: (2010-04-28). "Replay: Live chat with U.S. Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin". GazetteOnline.com. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  9. ^ http://www.fiegenforussenate.com/issues.htm#healthcare[dead link]
  10. ^ "Krause For Iowa's Future - On The Issues: Health Care". Krauseforiowa.com. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  11. ^ Sullivan, Adam B (2010-05-26). "On the issues, Conlin sees few differences with her Democratic rivals « Iowa Independent". Iowaindependent.com. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  12. ^ "Conlin attacked over ties to lobbyist during second U.S. Senate forum". IowaPolitics.com. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  13. ^ "Iowa Democrats" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  14. ^ "Documents « Iowa Democratic Party". Iowademocrats.org. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  15. ^ "IA Sr Sen Approval". SurveyUSA. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  16. ^ "Senate Race Ratings Map for 2010". CQ Politics. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  17. ^ Sat, Aug 21 2010 - 4:54 pm   FollowRetweet This. "LGBT Issues | Roxanne Conlin for Iowa". Roxanneforiowa.com. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  18. ^ "Analysts: Roxanne Conlin likely to be Chuck Grassley's top rival since '80 | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs". Blogs.desmoinesregister.com. 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  19. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/wire/chi-ap-ia-senatedebate,0,3648546.story.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  20. ^ "Senate". Cook Political Report. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Senate Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Battle for the Senate". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  23. ^ "2010 Senate Ratings". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Race Ratings Chart: Senate". CQ Politics. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  25. ^ "2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for Iowa". fec.gov. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  26. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2010election.pdf

External links[edit]

Official candidate websites