U.S. Senate

Michael Luick-Thrams

An Iowa historian, running as an independent in the race for U.S. Senate, says he sees opportunity for someone outside the two-party system in this election cycle. He says every 30 years or so cultures open up, look around, and assess what's going well and what needs to be changed. Michael Luick-Thrams says now is that moment.


The latest Quinnipiac University poll finds Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leading GOP nominee Donald Trump by 47 percent to 44 percent in Iowa.

Since Clinton’s three-point lead is within the margin of error, the poll suggests the candidates are effectively tied. But the same survey also find that 97 percent of Iowa Democrats say they are supporting Clinton, and only 85 percent of Republicans say the same of Trump.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Senator Chuck Grassley's refusal to hold a hearing for President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, has changed the landscape for Grassley's reelection campaign this fall. On June 7th Iowans will choose from among four candidates to determine which Democrat will face Grassley in the general election. 

Patty Judge is a former lieutenant governor, former secretary of agriculture for Iowa, and former state legislator. Judge spoke to Ben Kieffer on River to River.  Below is a transcript of the conversation, edited for clarity.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

When U.S. Sen Chuck Grassley decided not to schedule confirmation hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, the Democratic primary contest for Iowa's U.S. Senate seat became one to watch. Before the vote on June 7th, we’re airing interviews with all four candidates on that ballot. 

Rob Hogg is an attorney and state senator; he’s been serving at the Iowa statehouse since 2003.  On Monday, he spoke with IPR’s Ben Kieffer on River to River and began by distinguishing his fundraising from his opponents.

IPR file photos

Two of the four Democrats running for U.S. Senate spoke at the South Side Democrat Federal Candidate Forum in Des Moines Tuesday night. State Sen. Rob Hogg and former state Sen. Tom Fiegen addressed a wide range of issues, including the environment and criminal justice. 

Both candidates agreed on the need for sentencing reform. Fiegen also spoke about decriminalizing marijuana, doing away with for-profit prisons, and advocates for fewer prosecutors being appointed to the federal bench. 

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Senator Chuck Grassley, the longest serving member of Iowa’s congressional delegation, is up for reelection this November.  Four Democrats are running to be the party nominee to challenge him in November – and they face off in a primary election June 7th.   The Democratic race heated up a few months ago, after Grassley refused to hold a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.  This week, we’re publishing interviews from all four Democrats on the primary ballot.  

courtesy of Paul Schaefer

 Four Democrats are on the June 7th primary ballot for the U-S Senate seat currently held by Republican Chuck Grassley.  He is the longest serving member of Iowa’s congressional delegation.  Grassley’s decision not to schedule confirmation hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee has attracted more attention to the Democratic primary contest.  This week and next, we’re airing interviews from all four candidates on that ballot. 

Despite criticism he’s keeping details of his schedule private to avoid protestors, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he hasn’t changed protocol in 36 years.

Iowa’s senior Republican senator heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been highly criticized for refusing to hold a confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

The senate is currently on recess, so Grassley is back in Iowa meeting with constituents. The senator has not made his full schedule public, which Democrats say is an attempt to elude unhappy constituents. 

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge is running for the U.S. Senate seat held since 1981 by Republican Chuck Grassley.  She becomes the fourth Democrat to enter the race.

Judge announced her candidacy with a news release this morning and a post on her Facebook page, calling herself, "the Judge Chuck Grassley can't ignore."  Grassley heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has said it would not hold a hearing for anyone President Obama nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.

Photo by John Pemble

The U.S. Senate could vote this week on the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which aims to upgrade the country's power grid, improve energy efficiency, and repeal outdated provisions in the US Code. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says the bipartisan bill doesn't specifically address ethanol production or wind energy tax credits, two issues he recognizes as important to Iowans.

Truthout.org / flickr

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture contains some very grisly findings, detailing CIA interrogation techniques, like mock execution and sleep deprivation.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the new Republican majority will carefully vet President Obama’s judicial appointments.

Creative Commons

With Election Day on Tuesday, IPR’s Clay Masters spoke with Associated Press political reporter Catherine Lucey, to discuss what to expect.

Ernst/Braley Campaign Facebook Pages

With the midterm elections less than a week away, the Iowa Senate race looks closer than ever.

Clay Masters / IPR

Since the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision in 2010, there’s been more and more participation in electoral politics by groups not coordinated with campaigns or parties. 

John Pemble / IPR

State Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with Morning Edition one week before the 2014 Elections. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Congressman Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with Morning Edition one week before the 2014 Elections. 

DonkeyHotey / flickr

Two weeks to go until Election Day. Polls continue to show the Braley-Ernst Senate race is one of the closest in the nation – a contest that could decide party control in the Senate.

Clay Masters / IPR

Joni Ernst, who’s running as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, held her first campaign event after returning from active duty with the Iowa National Guard.

Newfrontiers / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Three open congressional seats from Iowa are up for grabs in this November’s midterm elections – a very rare occurrence in Iowa politics!

Today on River to River, an analysis of last night's primary results for those races. Joining host Ben Kieffer are guests Kathie Obradovich, of the Des Moines Register, and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa.

Ben asks them about the candidates’ strengths, possible weaknesses, and he has them ponder campaign strategies each camp is likely to employ leading up to November.

John C. Culver Public Policy Center

Former Democratic U.S. Senator John Culver served 16 years in Congress. He now lives in Washington D.C., but he’ll be back in Iowa later this week to visit the Culver Public Policy Center at Simpson College in Indianola.  

The U.S. Senate reached a deal to avoid the so-called "nuclear option," which would've changed Senate rules and prohibited filibuster on nominees.  The new deal will allow nominations to face an up or down vote.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Tim Hagle of University of Iowa about the deal and what it means.  They also discuss calls to repeal "stand your ground" laws in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal.