# Grace Van Cleave



Ten Iowa Democratic legislative primaries to watch in 2022

UPDATE: I’ve added unofficial results for each race.

Iowa Democrats have more competitive state legislative primaries in 2022 than in a typical election cycle. That’s partly because quite a few House and Senate members are retiring, and partly because the redistricting plan adopted in 2021 created some legislative districts with no incumbents.

In most of the races discussed below, the winner of the primary is very likely to prevail in November. However, a few of the districts could be targeted by one or both parties in the general election.

All data on past election performance in these districts comes from the Iowa House and Senate maps Josh Hughes created in Dave’s Redistricting App. Fundraising numbers are taken from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s database.

This post is not an exhaustive account of all contested Democratic primaries for state legislative offices. You can find the full primary candidate list here.

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Why I’m supporting Grace Van Cleave for Iowa Senate district 17

Jamie Burch Elliott is a former director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood in Iowa.

I support pro-choice fighter Grace Van Cleave in the June 7 Democratic primary to represent Iowa Senate district 17 because we need her. Beyond that, she’s my friend. So, I’d like to tell you a little bit about her, and to ask you to vote for her in Tuesday’s primary. 

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Grace Van Cleave for Iowa Senate district 17: We need fighters now

Jack Hatch represented part of Des Moines in the Iowa Senate and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor.

Grace Van Cleave has done a great job with her campaign to “Give Choice a Voice.” Iowans’ basic human right to exercise our own reproductive health care decisions is under the gravest threat in 50 years. We have an Iowa Supreme Court case pending, and a state constitutional amendment designed to clear a path for banning abortion may appear on a statewide ballot soon. After that, there may be no right to choose in Iowa. 

Who will represent us in this huge battle that’s coming?

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Murguia-Ortiz, Van Cleave running in Iowa Senate district 17

An unusual race is shaping up in a solid blue Iowa Senate district with no incumbent.

Normally, the Democratic nominee in a district covering parts of Des Moines would be a lock to win in November. But community organizer Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz will run in the new Senate district 17 as an independent candidate on a progressive platform.

The Democratic field is nowhere near set; the first candidate likely to make a formal announcement is Grace Van Cleave.

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Four ways to resolve Iowa Senate district 16 incumbent pairing

Iowa’s new legislative maps create many more match-ups between Republican incumbents than Democrats. But two first-term Democratic senators, Claire Celsi and Sarah Trone Garriott, live in the new Iowa Senate district 16. Celsi announced in early November she’ll seek re-election in the district, which covers a blue-trending portion of Des Moines’ western suburbs.

Trone Garriott hasn’t decided how to proceed and told Bleeding Heartland in a recent telephone interview that she hasn’t ruled anything out. She has “lots of options,” she said, but “none of them are easy.”

Trone Garriott’s choice may depend in part on how Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman responds to being placed in a competitive district for the first time. Will the chamber’s second-ranking Republican stay in a district Joe Biden carried, or flee to safer nearby territory?

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First look at Iowa's new House, Senate maps in cities, suburbs

Now that Iowa’s political maps for the next decade have been finalized, it’s time to look more closely at the district lines in and near larger metro areas. Although most districts anchored in cities are safe for Democrats, these metros will include quite a few battleground Iowa House and Senate races over the next two election cycles. Several “micropolitan” districts containing mid-sized cities remain competitive as well, and a forthcoming post will cover those maps.

I’ll write more about the political landscape of individual House or Senate districts once lawmakers and other contenders have confirmed their plans for next year. Several incumbent match-ups have already been worked out, and I’m continuing to update this post. (Please send tips on candidate announcements.)

I’ve grouped each Iowa Senate district with the two state House districts it wholly contains.

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