Three-way Democratic primary coming in Iowa Senate district 17

State Senator Jack Hatch’s entry to the governor’s race opens up a safe Iowa Senate seat for Democrats in Polk County. This morning Assistant Iowa Attorney General Nathan Blake announced his candidacy in Iowa Senate district 17. Blake’s campaign is on the web, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve posted his press release after the jump, along with a map of the district and the latest voter registration numbers there.

This race is likely to be one of the most interesting primary battles in Iowa next year. Blake will face two warhorses of Democratic politics on the south side of Des Moines. Lobbyist and former State Representative Ned Chiodo confirmed by telephone this morning that he will also run in Senate district 17. He will formally announce his campaign at a later date. Former State Senator Tony Bisignano became a candidate in this district months ago and immediately locked down a major labor union endorsement.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

Blake for Iowa press release, September 17:


DES MOINES — Assistant Iowa Attorney General Nathan Blake, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for the Iowa State Senate in the 17th District today, promising to work for a government that serves all Iowans, not just special interests. If elected, Nathan would be the first Latino to serve in the Iowa legislature.

“Iowa is my home because it’s the best place in the country to live, work, and raise a family,” Blake said. “As State Senator, I will fight to make sure our children grow up in a state that continues to offer great education, promising job opportunities, and an unrivaled quality of life.”

An experienced Democratic activist, Blake pledged to advocate for progressive public policy. “Middle-class families are getting squeezed by economic pressures. I will fight to expand early childhood education, strengthen health and child care support, and protect the social safety net that so many working families rely upon. I’m committed to running a grassroots campaign that champions these issues and mobilizes the many Iowans who share my priorities.”

As an Assistant Iowa Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division, Nathan Blake works in a law enforcement capacity to protect Iowans from deceptive and unfair business practices and to hold criminals accountable for their fraud. Previously, Blake worked on anti-hunger policy under Secretary Tom Vilsack at the United States Department of Agriculture. He started his career at the Belin firm in Des Moines before joining then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign as a caucus organizer in 2007.

Blake, a married father of two, is an active member of his community and serves on the Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association Board, the Polk County Democratic Central Committee, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Local 307.

The Democratic primary will be held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. To learn more about Nathan Blake and his campaign, visit or connect through or

Senate district 17 covers most of the south side of Des Moines, plus much of downtown and the Sherman Hill neighborhood between downtown and the interstate. According to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, this district contained 16,926 registered Democrats, 7,163 Republicans, and 11,224 no-party voters as of September 2013.

Iowa Senate district 17 photo IowaSD17_zps4226a546.jpg

  • sort of similar to city council race

    Where Chris Diebel is challenging Skip Moore. Plenty of ink to be spilled on New vs. Old Des Moines. A difference is that this is an open seat and there are two older candidates (both south side Italians), which may work to Blake’s advantage. Personally I think it would be good for supposedly young-and-hip Des Moines to have a senator under 60, but it also helps that Nathan is extremely smart (Yale Law grad) and easy to work with. I think he’d make a great addition at the Capitol.

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