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Greenfield Wins Democratic Primary Setting Up Senate Contest With Ernst

Grant Gerlock/Iowa Public Radio
Theresa Greenfield gives a victory speech over Facebook Live after winning the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Iowa Democrats have chosen Des Moines real estate executive Theresa Greenfield to be their nominee for the U.S. Senate, setting up what is expected to be a closely contested race against incumbent Republican Senator Joni Ernst in November's general election.

Greenfield was declared the winner early Tuesday night with 48 percent of the vote over former Navy Admiral Mike Franken of Sioux City, Indianola attorney Kimberly Graham and Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro.

She had support from influential unions such as the AFL-CIO and IBEW as well as early support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has targeted the Iowa seat as a possible pick up.

In a victory speech from her home on Facebook Live, Greenfield told supporters that she would work in the Senate to expand health care access and address the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tens of thousands of Iowans are sick or out of work,” she said. “Our small businesses are worried about keeping the lights on and many have closed. Our farmers are struggling to pay the bills.”

Greenfield also referenced ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. She called the last week of demonstrations a reminder that injustice exists in Iowa and around the country.

“We need long-term systemic change to end racism and racial disparities in policing, housing, health care, education and so much more,” Greenfield said.

National Democratic leaders believe the Iowa seat could help flip control of the U.S. Senate in their favor. The race is expected to draw large-scale spending by both Democratic and Republican campaign groups.

Harvest Public Media's reporter at NET News, where he started as Morning Edition host in 2008. He joined Harvest Public Media in July 2012. Grant has visited coal plants, dairy farms, horse tracks and hospitals to cover a variety of stories. Before going to Nebraska, Grant studied mass communication as a grad student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his undergrad at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm in southwestern Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor, but has taken up city life in Lincoln, Neb.