Democratic incumbent: Tom Harkin
Republican candidate: Christopher Reed
Harkin, 68, has represented Iowa in the U.S. Senate since 1985. Before that, he had been in the U.S. House for 10 years. His main claim to fame during that period was that, in 1977, when I was an intern for Representative Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, Harkin's office was across the hall in the Cannon Building. He chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. Harkin is 19th in Senate seniority, 11th among Democrats.
Reed is a navy veteran and businessman.
Real Clear Politics shows polls with Harkin in the lead by 14 to 23 percentage points.
Iowa is typical of upper midwestern states, having been dominated by the Republican Party from that party's earliest days, but having voted Democratic somewhat more often in recent decades.
Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley have been consistently reelected to Iowa's Senate seats since the 1980s.