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Democracy for America getting involved in seven Iowa House races

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 07:10:00 AM CDT

The progressive political action committee Democracy for America announced this morning that it has endorsed seven Democratic candidates for the Iowa House: three incumbents, three challengers to Republican state representatives, and one candidate running in an open seat. Winning those seven races could flip the chamber to Democratic control--but only if Democrats do not lose any other Iowa House districts they currently hold. Republicans take a 53-47 Iowa House majority into next month's election, meaning Democrats need a net gain of four seats.

I've posted Democracy for America's full statement after the jump. The PAC will offer financial and organizational support to the following Iowa House candidates:

• Scott Ourth, a first-term incumbent seeking re-election in Iowa House district 26 (most of Warren County, including the Indianola area)
• Joe Riding, a first-term incumbent seeking re-election in Iowa House district 30 (most of eastern Polk County)
• Curt Hanson, an incumbent seeking re-election in Iowa House district 82 (most of Jefferson County including Fairfield, plus Van Buren and Davis counties)
• Charlie McConkey, first-time candidate in Iowa House district 15 (western half of Council Bluffs plus Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County, open because Republican State Representative Mark Brandeburg retired)
• Dave Grussing, challenger to first-term GOP State Representative Tedd Gassman in Iowa House district 7 (Emmet and Winnebago counties, plus part of Kossuth County)
• Teresa Meyer, challenger to first-term GOP State Representative Sandy Salmon in Iowa House district 63 (Bremer County and parts of northern Black Hawk County)
• Kristi Keast, challenger to first-term GOP State Representative Quentin Stanerson in Iowa House district 95 (much of Linn County outside the Cedar Rapids metro area, plus part of Buchanan County)

Gassman, Salmon, and Stanerson won their 2012 Iowa House races by margins of 44 votes, 115 votes, and 200 votes, respectively.

Extra help for Riding and Hanson could have collateral benefits for Democrats hoping to maintain their Iowa Senate majority. Riding's seat makes up half of the open Senate district 15, a Democratic-held seat that Republicans are targeting. Hanson's seat makes up half of Senate district 41, a Democratic-leaning district now held by Republican Mark Chelgren (the biggest surprise winner of 2010).

In an upcoming series of posts, Bleeding Heartland will review these and other Iowa House districts targeted by one or both parties. Thanks to Iowa's non-partisan redistricting process, in any given election year more than a dozen of the 100 Iowa House races are competitive. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee considers the Iowa House one of its top opportunities in the country to flip a state legislative chamber. GOP Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen has expressed confidence that his party will hold and possibly expand its majority.

UPDATE: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee put two Iowa House districts and two Iowa Senate districts on its list of "2014 Races to Watch." I've added that announcement to the end of this post.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 664 words in story)

Prospects for increasing diversity in the Iowa legislature

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 08:10:18 AM CDT

Forty men and ten women currently serve in the Iowa Senate. No senators are African-American, Latino, or Asian-American.

Seventy-five men and 25 women currently serve in the Iowa House. Five state representatives are African-American and none are Latino or Asian-American.

Time for a look at how those numbers might change after the November election, now that primaries have determined the major-party nominees in all state legislative districts. Click here for the June 3 unofficial election results and here for the full list of candidates who filed to run in the primaries.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1013 words in story)

Analysis of the Obama-Romney vote in the Iowa House districts

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 08:26:39 AM CDT

The Daily Kos Elections team has been compiling 2012 presidential election results by state legislative district as well as by Congressional district, state by state. Last week the Iowa numbers were added to the database. I took a first stab at previewing the battle for control of the Iowa Senate next year, using data including the raw vote totals and percentages for President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in each district.

The Daily Kos database includes Obama and Romney vote totals and percentages for each Iowa House district here. After the jump I've incorporated that information and other factors to predict which Iowa House districts will be competitive in 2014. Writing this post has been challenging, because every election cycle brings surprises, and many more seats in the lower chamber will be in play. Unlike the Iowa Senate, where only half of the 50 members are on the ballot in each general election, all 100 Iowa House members are on ballot in every even-numbered year. Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the lower chamber.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 3366 words in story)

Recounts finished in Iowa House and Senate races

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 11:44:15 AM CST

Democratic candidate Susan Judkins halted the recount and conceded defeat in Iowa House district 43 today: "Questions about whether all absentee ballots were counted have been satisfactorily answered and I believe my narrow loss would likely stand even if all ballots were considered." After the official canvass, Republican incumbent Chris Hagenow led by 22 votes out of nearly 17,500 cast.

A recount of the open-seat race in Iowa House district 63 concluded yesterday. Republican Sandy Salmon defeated Democrat Bill Heckroth by a little more than 100 votes out of nearly 16,500 cast.

And in a final disappointment for Iowa Democrats, Republican Mike Breitbach held onto a narrow lead over John Beard after a recount in the open Senate district 28. I've heard conflicting reports about the final margin, which is probably either 17 or 22 votes out of nearly 30,000 cast.

Both parties have won some close statehouse races in Iowa over the years, but this year Democrats lost most of the heartbreakers.

Republicans have a 53 to 46 Iowa House majority, with a special election in House district 52 coming up soon. Democrats have a 26 to 23 Iowa Senate majority, with a special election in Senate district 22 set for December 11.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Weekend open thread: Woulda, coulda, shoulda edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:50:10 AM CST

Now that we've all had a few days to take in the election results, candidates and political activists in both parties can reflect on how our time and money could have been better spent during the campaign. After the jump I've posted links about Republican and Democratic regrets.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

There's More... :: (7 Comments, 683 words in story)

Iowa Senate ad watch: I-JOBS lies edition (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:45:00 AM CDT

The I-JOBS infrastructure bonding initiative helped fund more than 1,600 infrastructure projects around Iowa during the "Great Recession." From the beginning, Republicans have used misleading rhetoric to make their case against I-JOBS. Terry Branstad and GOP lawmakers exaggerated the initiative's costs and understated its benefits repeatedly during the 2010 campaign.

Now some Iowa Senate candidates are putting lies about I-JOBS at the center of their radio advertising.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1683 words in story)

First look at Democratic prospects for Iowa House gains

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 06:15:00 AM CDT

The redistricting process and several Republican retirements have created many pickup opportunities for Iowa House Democrats. The devastating 2010 election left them nowhere to go but up in the lower chamber, where Republicans currently enjoy a 60 to 40 majority. Relatively few sitting House Democrats represent vulnerable districts.

Speaking to activists at the Polk County Democratic convention on March 10, I heard lots of optimism about the House races. After the jump I've posted some early thoughts on the seats up for grabs.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1619 words in story)

Brian Schoenjahn still lacks a GOP challenger in Iowa Senate district 32

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 14:26:10 PM CST

MARCH 16 UPDATE: Republican Elliott Henderson of Independence qualified for the ballot on the last day of the filing period. Bleeding Heartland will discuss his campaign in a future post.

State Senator Brian Schoenjahn confirmed today that he is running for re-election in the new Senate district 32. This politically balanced seat is a must-win for Democrats hoping to retain their majority in the upper chamber. With barely a month to go before the filing deadline for state legislative candidates, Republicans do not yet have a challenger in this district.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1317 words in story)

Iowa Workforce Development offices as a 2012 campaign issue

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 09:00:49 AM CST

The state agency Iowa Workforce Development has replaced 36 field offices with hundreds of new "enhanced access" computer terminals this year.

Although the shuttered offices are unlikely ever to reopen, they may live on as talking points in many competitive Iowa House and Senate races next fall.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 4433 words in story)

Republican Sandy Salmon announces candidacy in Iowa House district 63

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 12:13:13 PM CDT

Yesterday Sandy Salmon became the first Republican to announce in Iowa House district 63, which covers all of Bremer County and some rural areas in northern Black Hawk County. A district map and background on Salmon as well as her Democratic opponent are after the jump.
There's More... :: (2 Comments, 335 words in story)

Bill Heckroth announces candidacy in Iowa House district 63

by: desmoinesdem

Fri May 06, 2011 at 16:09:25 PM CDT

Former State Senator Bill Heckroth announced today that he will run as a Democrat in Iowa House district 63 next year. Heckroth owns a financial planning business in Waverly, the largest town in the district. To my knowledge, Heckroth does not have a campaign website up yet. I've posted the Iowa House Democrats' press release after the jump, along with a district map.

The new district 63 includes all of Bremer County and parts of northern Black Hawk County, outside the Waterloo and Cedar Falls city limits. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, but independents have a plurality. As of April 2011, the district contained 5,225 registered Democrats, 6,395 registered Republicans and 9,128 no-party voters.

Aside from a few Black Hawk County precincts, the entire territory in the new House district 63 was part of the old Iowa Senate district 9, which Heckroth represented from 2007 through 2010. Here's a map of that district. Over the past two decades, Heckroth has been involved with a wide variety of community organizations in Waverly; his press release lists them below. In his successful 2006 race, Heckroth outpolled Republican Tom Hoogestraat in both the Bremer and Black Hawk portions of the district. Heckroth lost his 2010 re-election bid to Bill Dix, who also had a strong base in Waverly, but even then Heckroth outperformed Governor Chet Culver in Bremer.

No current state representative lives in the new district 63. As far as I know, no Republican has announced plans to run in this district. Three-term House member Pat Grassley represents part of Bremer County; he could move to this district as a way to resolve being paired with fellow Republican Annette Sweeney in the new House district 50. However, that scenario seems unlikely. House district 50 has a much larger GOP voter registration advantage than district 63. Also, Sweeney voted against the redistricting plan while Grassley voted for it, suggesting that he will be able to stay put.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 364 words in story)
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