In elections for President, Iowa has been Democratic, although not overwhelmingly so: In 2012, Obama beat Romney 52-46; in 2008, he beat McCain 54-44.
Statewide, in 2008, Harkin won easily over Reed, but Iowa's other senator, Chuck Grassley, is a Republican who also wins election easily. Iowa's governor, Terry Branstad, is a Republican. Iowa has 4 representatives in the House and its delegation is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
The Senate race
Although there is a Democratic primary, Bruce Braley is running unopposed. Braley is currently a member of the House of Representatives. On the Issues rates him as a "populist leaning liberal". Progressive Punch rates him the 69th most progressive member of the House. He is pro-choice, a supporter of equal rights for gays, women and ethnic minorities, generally pro-labor, a supporter of conservation efforts and green energy choices, favors "fair trade" over "free trade" and wants to limit some of the Patriot Act.
The Republican primary
The Republican primary includes six declared candidates; leaders are Mark Jacobs and Joni Ernst, but polls show that many Republicans remain undecided; a recent poll by PPP found 42% undecided. Jacobs is the former CEO of an energy company, Ernst is a state senator. The primary will be on June 3.
A PPP poll of the general election shows Braley with leads of 5 to 10 points against the various Republicans.
According to the FEC, at the end of 2013, Braley had raised $4.2 million and had $2.6 million cash on hand; Ernst had raised $455,000 and had $290,000 cash on hand and Jacobs had raised $930,000 and had $253,000 cash on hand.
Although it could be close, Braley has the lead in the polls, a large fundraising edge and a more impressive resume than his challengers.