PRIMARY RESULTS: November Ballots Shape Up

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After Tuesday’s primary elections we now have a better idea of what the November election matchups will look like. 

The redrawn district maps forced 14 Statehouse incumbents to face others from within their party.

In the metro, the first big win for a candidate challenging an incumbent came out of Johnston. Jake Highfill accused Erik Helland of trying to bribe him to stay out of office but Helland denied the accusation. A House ethics committee dismissed the complaint against Helland.

Still, Republican voters said they want somebody new to lead them into the general election. Highfill, a University of Iowa student defeats Helland 622 to 572, a margin of 50 votes.    

A different Polk County incumbent has saved her chance to stay in the Iowa Senate. Pat Ward represents District 21, but she moved after redistricting would have pitted her against Sen. Matt McCoy. Jeff Mullen is a pastor in Waukee whose campaign ads have brought attention and controversy to the district race.

Pat Ward defeated Jeff Mullen by more than 400 votes. She will face Democrat Desmund Adams in November.

In another House race from south Des Moines, Patti Branco had received an endorsement from House Speaker Kraig Paulsen. She defeated Dave Leach by 47 votes.    

In northeastern Iowa, redistricting pitted two Republican incumbents against each other. Rep. Annette Sweeney is known for championing the “Ag gag” bill and Rep. Pat Grassley is the grandson of Sen. Chuck Grassley. Grassley won, with 61-percent of the vote.  

Congressman Bruce Braley will face the same opponent he defeated two years ago. Ben Lange defeated Rod Blum in the First District primary with 53-percent of the vote. Blum was not far behind with 47-percent. In 2010 Braley beat Lange by just two percentage points.  

In the Second District, incumbent Dave Loebsack easily defeated challenger Joe Seng.