The Polk County supervisors canvassed election results from Iowa House district 43 today and found Republican incumbent Chris Hagenow leading Susan Judkins by 22 votes: 8,741 to 8,719 with 17 write-ins. Judkins has until 5 pm on Monday, November 19 to request a recount. She would be crazy not to do so, in my opinion. Although recounts have rarely changed the outcome in Iowa legislative races, optical scanner machines do make mistakes when reading ballots, and Judkins trails by approximately 0.1 percent of all votes cast.
Iowa House Republicans are confident that Hagenow’s lead will hold—so confident that they elected Hagenow House majority whip today. He replaces Erik Helland, who was defeated in this year’s GOP primary to represent Iowa House district 39. The rest of the House leadership team includes Speaker Kraig Paulsen, Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, Speaker Pro Tem Steve Olson, and assistant majority leaders Walt Rogers, Jeff Smith, Matt Windschitl, and Joel Fry. Republicans will have a 53-47 majority if Hagenow wins, and a 52-48 majority if a recount shows Judkins the winner.
Incidentally, the number of residents who voted for one of the candidates in House district 43 this year was substantially higher than the votes cast for Hagenow or his Democratic opponent in 2008. That year Hagenow defeated Jerry Sullivan in the old House district 59 by 8,240 votes to 8,147.