Polls close at 9 pm, and I'll be updating this post regularly with primary election results. Rumor has it that turnout was relatively low, even on the Republican side where there are hard-fought primaries for U.S. Senate and the third Congressional district. According to the Polk County Auditor's office, as of this afternoon only 1,506 absentee ballots had been requested and 1,350 absentee ballots received for today's GOP primary. Keep in mind that roughly half of all Republican voters in IA-03 live in Polk County, and six campaigns were competing for their votes. Not to mention that five U.S. Senate candidates should have been locking in early votes in Iowa's largest county.
By comparison, 2,883 Democratic primary absentee ballots were requested in Polk County, and 2,296 of those returned by today. The lion's share were from Iowa Senate district 17 in Des Moines, where three candidates are seeking to replace Jack Hatch (2,475 absentee ballots requested and 1,950 returned). Democratic campaigns have long pushed early voting more than Republicans, but still--that's a shocking failure to GOTV by the various Republican campaigns.
Share any comments about any Iowa campaigns in this thread, as well as any interesting anecdotes from voting today.
UPDATE: Polls are now closed and updates will continue after the jump.
9:15 pm: Unofficial returns in Polk County show State Senator Joni Ernst way ahead in the IA-Sen primary. She has more than half of the votes counted so far. In the IA-03 race, State Senator Brad Zaun leads as expected, but Robert Cramer is not far behind him, followed by Matt Schultz, David Young, Monte Shaw, and Joe Grandanette.
Crystal Bruntz leads Jeremy Filbert in the Republican primary for Iowa Senate district 15, but half of that district lies in Jasper County. The GOP nominee will face Chaz Allen in the open seat (Dennis Black is retiring).
On the Democratic side, Tony Bisignano leads Nathan Blake by fewer than 100 votes in Senate district 17 with a few precincts still not in. There is no Republican candidate in this district, so the primary winner will succeed Jack Hatch in the Iowa Senate.
Kim Robinson easily defeated Nicholas Dreeszen in the Democratic primary for House district 43. Robinson will face three-term Republican State Representative Chris Hagenow in the general.
9:30 UPDATE: Looks like IA-03 will go to a convention. With 169 or 178 Polk County precincts reporting, Zaun has about a third of the votes. He needs a bigger margin than that in Polk to clear 35 percent district-wide.
9:45 UPDATE: Joni Ernst looks like the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate. With most of the votes counted in Polk County, she has more than 50 percent and a lead there of almost 9,000 votes. She's over 60 percent in Johnson County. Looks like Sam Clovis will edge out Mark Jacobs for second place in Polk.
The Associated Press called the gubernatorial primary for Terry Branstad. Nail-biter!
Republican State Senator Jack Whitver easily defeated his primary challenger in Senate district 19.
First-term GOP State Representative Jake Highfill held off two primary challengers in House district 39. Unofficial returns gave him 45.8 percent. His challengers shouldn't have split the anti-Highfill vote. In 2012, Highfill was the only challenger to defeat an Iowa legislative incumbent, House majority whip Erik Helland.
10:00 pm UPDATE: With 487 of 1,782 precincts reporting Ernst is still above 56 percent in the IA-Sen primary. She will face Braley this November. Everyone else is below 20 percent.
Republicans have never nominated a woman for U.S. Senate before in Iowa. Democrats nominated Jean Lloyd-Jones against Chuck Grassley in 1992 and Roxanne Conlin against Grassley in 2010.
Pat Murphy leads the IA-01 Democratic primary with 106 of 436 precincts reporting. He has 37.7 percent of votes counted so far, Monica Vernon 20.5 percent, Anesa Kajtazovic 19.9 percent, Swati Dandekar 16.6 percent, Dave O'Brien 4.8 percent. Not clear whether Dubuque is in yet. If not, there's a good chance Murphy will win the primary with more than 35 percent.
Have to believe having Dandekar in the race hurt Vernon. They were appealing to the same kind of voter.
Rod Blum leads the IA-01 Republican primary with more than 58 percent of the vote. No trouble from Steve Rathje.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks is ahead in the IA-02 GOP primary, but by less than I expected. With 100 of 425 precincts in, she has 45.7 percent and Mark Lofgren 42.8 percent. Not sure where the uncounted votes are. If Muscatine is already in, Miller-Meeks should have nothing to worry about.
Still looks like the IA-03 GOP primary is going to a convention. With 209 of 392 precincts reported, Zaun has 32 percent, Cramer 22.5 percent, Schultz 17.5 percent, Young 13.3 percent, Shaw 17.5 percent, Grandanette 1.7 percent. Can't see Zaun adding a lot to his margin now that Polk County is in.
10:15 UPDATE: Murphy may fall below 35 percent in IA-01.
Zaun's share of the vote is dropping in IA-03. With 217 of 392 precincts reporting, he has 31.9 percent, Cramer 22.4 percent, Schultz 17.5 percent, Young 13.2 percent, Shaw 13.1 percent. It had to hurt Young and Shaw to be in the same primary. They were competing for similar voters in some respects.
All the Polk County results are in, and Tony Bisignano leads Nathan Blake by 13 votes. Late-arriving absentee ballots could decide this thing. Ned Chiodo's about 400 votes back in third place.
Crystal Bruntz will be the GOP nominee in Senate district 15. She will face Chaz Allen, former mayor of Newton.
Ernst has been delivering her victory speech. The church she was raised in the same church where she was married, and where her daughter was baptized, and where she teaches Sunday school. She claims she's been attacked for not being a lawyer (false as far as I can tell) and that she may not be a lawyer but she has Iowa values. It's a long way from Red Oak to Washington, but that journey begins tonight. Ernst tells stories about her modest upbringing in rural southwest Iowa.
10:30 UPDATE: With 316 of 436 precincts reporting in IA-01, Murphy is at 34.7 percent, Vernon 24.3 percent, Dandekar 19.6 percent, Kajtazovic 15.0 percent, O'Brien 6.4 percent.
Miller-Meeks is pulling away in IA-02. With 403 of 425 precincts reporting, she has 48.8 percent to 38.9 percent for Lofgren and 12.1 percent for Matthew Waldren.
Zaun was just interviewed on WHO-TV. Asked what case he would make with delegates who will decide the GOP nomination in IA-03, he said Republicans need someone who is "battle-tested." He also pointed out that he got the most votes despite being outspent by other candidates. With 276 of 392 precincts reporting, Zaun has 29 percent, Cramer 22.2 percent, Schultz 18 percent, Shaw 15 percent, Young 14.1 percent, Grandanette 1.7 percent.
David Johnson narrowly defeated Dennis Boedeker in the Democratic primary for Iowa House district 73. He will face first-term Republican State Representative Bobby Kaufmann.
In House district 91, open because Mark Lofgren is running for Congress, Gary Carlson defeated Mark Cisneros in the GOP primary. John Dabeet, the Democratic candidate in 2012, will be the Democratic nominee again.
Abby Finkenauer won the Democratic primary for Pat Murphy's seat, House district 99. She got nearly 58 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Steve Drahozal.
10:45 UPDATE: GOP State Representative Walt Rogers easily beat his primary challenger in House district 60. His Democratic challenger will be Karyn Finn.
Timi Brown-Powers won the Democratic primary for Iowa House district 61, which Anesa Kajtazovic left open to run for Congress.
Liz Bennett defeated Gary Anhalt by 63.7 percent to 36.2 percent in the Democratic primary for House district 65, which Tyler Olson vacated.
Democratic State Senator Herman Quirmbach leads his primary challenger Cynthia Oppedal Paschen with more than 70 percent of the vote in Senate district 23.
11:00 UPDATE: With 1,483 of 1,782 precincts reporting, Ernst has 57.8 percent in the Senate primary, Jacobs at 16.9 percent, Clovis at 15.8 percent, Whitaker 7.9 percent, and Schaben at 1.4 percent.
Rod Blum will be the GOP nominee in IA-01, but it's still not clear whether Murphy will hit the 35 percent mark in the Democratic primary.
Zaun is down to 25.3 percent with 380 of 392 precincts reporting in IA-03. No way will he win the district convention in my opinion. Cramer's in second with 21.3 percent, Schultz at 20.4 percent, Shaw 15.8 percent, Young 15.6 percent, Grandanette 1.6 percent.
Hans Erickson won the Democratic primary in House district 47 and will face two-term GOP State Representative Chip Baltimore in November.
With all but one precinct in, James Butler leads Eric Durbin by about 50 votes in Iowa House district 26. The winner faces first-term Democratic State Representative Scott Ourth.
Shawn Dietz defeated Timothy Junker in the GOP primary to represent Iowa Senate district 27. He'll face three-term Democratic incumbent Amanda Ragan in a race both parties will target.
In the open Iowa Senate district 39, Kevin Kinney won the Democratic primary by 76 percent to 23 percent against Richard Gilmore. Michael Moore leads the GOP primary against Bob Anderson and Royce Phillips.
Steve Siegel easily won the Democratic primary to represent Iowa Senate district 41 by 70 percent to 30 percent for Tom Rubel. He faces lucky 2010 Republican winner Mark Chelgren. Democrats want this seat back, badly.
11:15 UPDATE: After final unofficial results showed him trailing Tony Bisignano by 13 votes, Nathan Blake posted on Facebook, "Given the current razor-thin vote count in Iowa Senate District 17 and the outstanding absentee ballots that have not yet been counted, my campaign is reviewing all options to ensure that every vote is counted and accurately recorded."
With 29 out of 40 precincts reporting in Iowa Senate district 29, James Budde leads James Heavens by 58 percent to 42 percent. The winner faces Democratic State Senator Tod Bowman, who should not have trouble holding this seat.
Two long-serving Democratic state senators defeated little-known primary challengers: Joe Seng won in Senate district 45 by 82 percent to 18 percent, while Wally Horn won in Senate district 35 by 65 percent to 35 percent. I'm surprised it was that close.
11:30 UPDATE: It looks like Murphy may avoid a district nominating convention in IA-01. With 429 of 436 precincts reporting, Murphy has 36.8 percent of the vote, Vernon 23.4 percent, Dandekar 18.4 percent, Kajtazovic 14.8 percent, O'Brien 6.6 percent. I think Vernon could have won this primary if Dandekar had not been in the race.
Miller-Meeks has 49 percent in the IA-02 GOP primary with 413 of 425 precincts reporting. Lofgren's at 38.3 percent and Waldren 12.5 percent.
IA-03 is almost all in, just three precincts outstanding now. Zaun's down to 24.6 percent, Cramer 21.2 percent, Schultz 20.1 percent, Shaw 16.9 percent, Young 15.6 percent, Grandanette 1.6 percent. Going to be a wild ride at the convention.
All the precincts have reported in House district 26. James Butler won that primary, 51.7 percent to 49 percent for Eric Durbin. Butler will face Democratic incumbent Scott Ourth in a race both parties are likely to target.
12:15 am UPDATE: Murphy has avoided a convention and will be the Democratic nominee in IA-01. With 434 of 436 precincts in, he has 10,120 votes (36.7 percent), Vernon has 6,504 (23.6 percent), Dandekar 5,059 votes (18.3 percent), Kajtazovic 4,049 votes (14.7 percent), and O'Brien 1,836 votes (6.7 percent).
Blum had no trouble in the GOP primary to represent IA-01. He's got 16,837 votes (54.9 percent) to 11,372 votes (37.1 percent) for Steve Rathje and 2,398 votes (7.8 percent) for Gail Boliver.
I'm surprised Miller-Meeks didn't win by a bigger margin in IA-02. She's up 49.4 percent to 38.2 percent over Lofgren. Waldren has 12.3 percent.
Zaun's lead has continued to shrink in IA-03. With all but two precincts in, he's got 10,578 votes (24.6 percent), Cramer has 9,107 votes (21.2 percent), Schultz has 8,618 votes (20.1 percent), Shaw has 7,260 votes (16.9 percent), Young has 6,683 votes (15.6 percent), and Grandanette 666 votes (1.6 percent).
In the Iowa Senate district 7 Democratic primary, Jim France defeated Maria Rundquist by 55.5 percent to 44.2 percent. He'll face first-term Republican incumbent Rick Bertrand. Both parties will target this seat, based in Sioux City.
James Budde defeated James Heavens in the GOP primary to represent Iowa Senate district 29, 58 percent to 42 percent.
Michael Moore will be the Republican candidate against Democrat Kevin Kinney in the open Senate district 39. Moore ended up winning with 49.2 percent of the primary vote to 32.5 percent for Bob Anderson and 18.1 percent for Royce Phillips.
FINAL UPDATE: With all precincts reporting, the IA-Sen primary turned out like this:
Ernst 56.1 percent
Clovis 18.0 percent
Jacobs 16.8 percent
Whitaker 7.5 percent
Schaben 1.4 percent
Branstad won 83 percent of the vote in the IA-Gov primary, Hoefling 16.8 percent.
IA-01 Democratic primary:
Murphy 36.7 percent
Vernon 23.6 percent
Dandekar 18.3 percent
Kajtazovic 14.7 percent
O'Brien 6.7 percent
IA-01 Republican primary:
Rod Blum 54.9 percent
Steve Rathje 37.1 percent
Gail Bolvier 7.8 percent
IA-02 Republican primary:
Miller-Meeks 49.4 percent
Lofgren 38.2 percent
Waldren 12.3 percent
IA-03 Republican primary:
Zaun 24.6 percent
Cramer 21.2 percent
Schultz 20.1 percent
Shaw 16.9 percent
Young 15.6 percent
Grandanette 1.6 percent