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Iowa's GOP incumbents win their primary elections

A "Vote here" sign is seen at a polling place in Des Moines on Tuesday, June 4.
Madeleine Charis King
A "Vote here" sign is seen at a polling place in Des Moines on Tuesday, June 4.

Iowa held its 2024 primary election on June 4. During a primary election, voters select who they believe should be a political party's candidate to run in the general election in November. This year, there were key races in Iowa's 1st, 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts.

In Iowa's 1st District, the stage is set for Miller-Meeks and Bohannan to face off once again

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks won her Republican primary Tuesday night. The incumbent for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District will once again face Democrat Christina Bohannan in November.

Miller-Meeks won 55% of the vote. Her opponent David Pautsch was a primary challenge from the party’s right wing.

Miller-Meeks first won her seat following a historically close six-vote margin in 2020. Two years ago, she improved her margin by 20,000 votes and won reelection with 52% of the vote. According to the most recent filing, Republican Miller-Meeks and Democrat Bohannan have $1.8 million apiece on hand heading toward November.

Iowa’s 1st District covers the southeastern quarter of the state and includes Scott, Johnson and Warren counties.

2nd District candidates must wait for the general election

In Iowa's 2nd District, which covers most of northeastern Iowa, incumbent Ashley Hinson ran unopposed in the Republican primary, while Sarah Corkery did the same in the Democratic primary.

Lanon Baccam overwhelmingly wins Iowa's 3rd District Democratic Primary

Democrats in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District chose Lanon Baccam as their nominee to go up against incumbent Republican Rep. Zach Nunn.

Baccam is a former U.S. Department of Agriculture official from Des Moines and a veteran of the Afghanistan War with the Iowa Army National Guard. He earned more than 80% of the vote Tuesday to top Melissa Vine in the district, which includes Des Moines and much of southwestern and south-central Iowa.

Baccam’s parents were among the Tai Dam refugees who resettled in Iowa after the Vietnam War. He says his family was embraced by the community in Mount Pleasant, where he was born and raised, and he wants to foster that same feeling in his campaign.

“We’re going to show Iowans that the connections we have to each other and the communities we build together are more important than the political disagreements we may have,” he told supporters.

Lanon Baccam celebrates his win in Iowa's 3rd District.
Grant Gerlock
Lanon Baccam celebrates his win in Iowa's 3rd District.

Baccam thanked Vine for raising the profile of issues such as abortion rights in the campaign. He says if he is elected to Congress, he will support protections for abortion rights nationwide.

“I’ll fight to restore the rights found under Roe versus Wade,” Baccam said. “I’ll make sure women have the freedom to make their own health care decisions.”

In the general election, Baccam will face incumbent Rep. Zach Nunn who was unopposed in the Republican primary. Baccam used his victory speech to make it clear that abortion will be a top issue in the race. Baccam said Nunn holds “extreme” views, pointing to his support as a lawmaker in the Iowa Statehouse of a ban on abortions at around six weeks.

“A national abortion ban is on the table if he goes back to Washington,” Baccam said.

Nunn disputed that in a recent interview. He said he is anti-abortion rights but supports exceptions for the health of the mother as well as expanding access to contraception.

“I oppose a federal ban and believe that abortion policy is best left up to the states,” Nunn said. “And that's why in Congress I'm honestly fighting against extremists in both parties to bring real solutions for Iowa families.”

The 3rd District is expected to be competitive. Two years ago, when he won his first term over incumbent Democrat Cindy Axne, Nunn won the race by less than 1%.

An out-of-state Feenstra topples newcomer in Iowa's 4th District Republican Primary

A crowded room of supporters showed up for a watch party in Cherokee for Kevin Virgil of Sutherland, who moved back to the state after concerns about eminent domain. He was the big underdog with a fraction of the campaign money of incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra.

Even with a challenge, Feenstra came out on top by more than 9,000 votes. His campaign manager says he was in Washington, D.C., during the primary election to vote on legislation.

A campaign sign outside a watch party for candidate Kevin Virgil in Cherokee.
Sheila Brummer
A campaign sign outside a watch party for candidate Kevin Virgil in Cherokee.

"Tonight, Iowans sent a clear message that they want a conservative voice in Congress who delivers results for our families, farmers, businesses, and our rural communities," Feenstra wrote in a post on X. "I'm humbled by the strong support for our campiagn and will continue to deliver for Iowa and our communities."

Feenstra will face Democrat Ryan Melton of Nevada in November. The insurance supervisor also appeared on the ballot in 2022, losing to Feenstra by about 40 points.

The 4th District covers 36 counties from the western border of the state and the northwest quadrant — and a bit more. It includes the cities of Ames, Fort Dodge and Marshalltown.

Two Statehouse GOP incumbents head off challengers concerned about proposed pipelines

The Republican chair of the Iowa Senate Commerce Committee beat his Republican challenger in a race focused on the proposed use of eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines.

Doug Campbell of Mason City accused Republican Sen. Waylon Brown of Osage of blocking House-approved bills that would have limited the use of eminent domain for carbon pipelines. Campbell was at a major funding disadvantage, but his opposition to the pipelines drew support from residents facing the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline.

Brown won with about 53% of the vote, according to unofficial results.


Republican Rep. Jane Bloomingdale of Northwood also defeated her primary challenger with 61% of the vote. John Rosenfeld of Clear Lake criticized her for not opposing carbon pipelines and for voting against abortion restrictions.

Copyright 2024 Iowa Public Radio News

Sheila Brummer
Zachary Oren Smith
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.
Katarina Sostaric is an Iowa City based reporter covering Eastern Iowa for Iowa Public Radio.