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HD-91

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)

Iowa local election results discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 20:29:51 PM CST

Polls closed at 8:00 pm across Iowa. What local elections are you following tonight, Bleeding Heartland readers?

Polk County voters appear to have approved Public Measure A to fund improvements to the county court system. UPDATE: With all precincts reporting, "yes" on A has 21,702 votes (67 percent) to 10,611 votes (33 percent) for "no."

With 65 of 71 precincts reporting, Des Moines at-large City Council member Skip Moore has 7,720 votes, while challenger Chris Diebel has 4,725 votes. Incumbent Chris Hensley has been re-elected in the third ward, and in the open first ward, Bill Gray has a lead over Sean Bagniewski, the candidate preferred by many progressives and labor activists.

UPDATE: Windsor Heights results are in: for the first time I can remember, all of the candidates I supported won! Longtime city council member Diana Willits won the open race for mayor (Jerry Sullivan retired). Diana is one of the few Republicans I've consistently voted for over the years. Unofficial results for city council indicate that the winners were incumbent Betty Glover (whom I didn't support) and candidates Steve Peterson and Tony Timm (for whom I voted). Peterson is a former city council member and was the Joe Biden precinct captain in Windsor Heights 2 in 2008. Timm is the executive director of the largest homeless shelter in Des Moines.

SECOND UPDATE: By a 2-1 margin, Iowa City voters upheld the city ordinance keeping 19 and 20-year-olds out of bars. The Iowa City council results will be a disappointment to those who were hoping to elect more progressives in the "people's republic."

THIRD UPDATE: Looks like the incumbents were re-elected in Coralville, a big loss for the Koch brothers' group Americans for Prosperity.

FOURTH UPDATE: Two local officials who are running for the state legislature as Republicans lost yesterday. Royce Phillips was a city council member in Tiffin and is a candidate for the open Iowa Senate district 39. Mark LeRette was a city council member in Muscatine and is a candidate for the open House district 91.

Cedar Rapids voters re-elected Mayor Ron Corbett. An ten-year extension of the local-option sales tax also passed easily in the Cedar Rapids metro area.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Crowded Republican primary coming in Iowa House district 91

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 09:52:00 AM CDT

Kevin Hall reported for The Iowa Republican blog yesterday that a fourth candidate is planning to seek the GOP nomination in the open Iowa House district 91. Republican State Representative Mark Lofgren is vacating the seat to run for Congress against four-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack. It's a swing district where President Barack Obama outpolled Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, even as Lofgren was re-elected.

Hall provided some background on Gary Carlson:

Carlson is an executive with HNI, the parent company of HON Furniture in Muscatine. HNI is a global company, with 10,000 employees. Prior to being a vice-president at HNI, Carlson was the president and CEO of the Muscatine Chamber of Commerce. He also served as the vice-president at the Bandag Corporation, where he managed Bandag operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from 1974-1997.

I wonder whether all three other declared GOP candidates in House district 91 (Emily Lofgren, Mark LeRette, and Mark Cisneros) will follow through before the filing deadline next March. So far only one Democratic candidate has announced in the district, John Dabeet.

Speaking of Mark Lofgren, I find it pathetic that ten days into the federal government shutdown, he's said nothing about the situation on his Congressional campaign website, twitter feed, or Facebook page. Most of the Iowans running for Congress have given some idea of whether they favor a "clean" continuing spending resolution to fund the federal government, or whether they would insist on conditions such as defunding/delaying the 2010 health care reform law. Lofgren is doing lit drops and attending Republican fundraisers, but he has nothing to say to a wider audience about the most important job of Congress: passing a budget. If Mariannette Miller-Meeks takes another shot at IA-02 (and I think she will), I hope she destroys Lofgren in the primary. She crushed three GOP rivals in 2010 before losing the general election to Loebsack.

UPDATE: Bleeding Heartland user Columcille points out in the comments that Emily Lofgren dropped out of the House district 91 race on October 11. She says she will focus on getting her father elected to Congress. Lofgren ran her father's 2010 Iowa House campaign against a Democratic incumbent.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Mark Cisneros running as Republican in Iowa House district 91

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 17:20:00 PM CDT

Kevin Hall reports for The Iowa Republican today that Muscatine County GOP Vice Chair Mark Cisneros plans to run for Iowa House district 91 next year. The seat is open because two-term incumbent Mark Lofgren is running for Congress. I expect House district 91 to be among a dozen or so districts that will determine control of the Iowa House after next year. Click here to view a map and the latest voter registration numbers.

Cisneros moved to Muscatine from California five years ago and owns a local business. According to Hall, former State Senator Jim Hahn "first approached Cisneros about running for the seat two months ago."

Two other Republicans, Mark LeRette and Emily Lofgren (Mark Lofgren's daughter) have already announced their candidacies in House district 91. Cisneros told Hall that the primary rivals "will sharpen each other, making the primary winner strong in the general election."

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

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)

Emily Lofgren announces in Iowa House district 91; competitive GOP primary coming

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:05:00 AM CDT

State Representative Mark Lofgren's daughter Emily Lofgren announced on twitter this morning that she will seek to replace her father in Iowa House district 91 next year. Mark Lofgren is running for Congress against four-term incumbent Dave Loebsack.

A Muscatine native and 2012 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Emily Lofgren has been active in Republican politics for years. She managed her father's successful campaign against Democratic State Representative Nathan Reichert in 2010. She has spent the last academic year teaching English in China and and had planned to spend another year there after coming home for the summer. I assume that she won't return to China now that she has decided to run for the state legislature.

Unlike State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, who faced no GOP rivals to represent House district 73 after his father Jeff Kaufmann left the legislature, Lofgren will have competition in next year's primary. Last week, Muscatine City Council member Mark LeRette announced his plans to run in House district 91. LeRette is a past chair of the Muscatine County Republican Party.

Click here to view a district map and the latest voter registration numbers in House district 91, a swing seat. I've posted more background on Emily Lofgren below. To my knowledge, she hasn't launched a campaign website yet. She blogs about "simple, happy living" here and about her experiences in China here.

I'm not personally acquainted with any Muscatine County Republicans, but I would guess that a city council member with experience on various local boards has a better chance in the GOP primary than a recent college graduate/internet life coach.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 676 words in story)

Republican Mark LeRette, Democrat John Dabeet running in Iowa House district 91

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 12:20:00 PM CDT

Each party has at least one candidate ready to run in Iowa House district 91 next year. Republican Mark Lofgren is leaving the seat open in order to run for Congress against Representative Dave Loebsack. As of July 2013, House district 91 contained 6,298 registered Democrats, 6,287 Republicans, and 8,425 no-party voters.

Earlier this week, Muscatine City Council member Mark LeRette told the Muscatine Journal and The Iowa Republican blog that he plans to run for House district 91. LeRette is a past chair of the Muscatine County Republican Party.

Last year's Democratic candidate John Dabeet confirmed to me yesterday that he will seek the office again in 2014. Dabeet plans to formally launch his campaign at the Muscatine County Democratic Party's August central committee meeting. UPDATE: Forgot to mention that in November 2012, Lofgren defeated Dabeet by 7,426 votes to 6,511 (53.3 percent to 46.7 percent). Turnout is sure to be lower in a midterm election.

After the jump I've posted a district map and background on LeRette and Dabeet. Some have speculated that Lofgren's daughter Emily Lofgren might become a candidate in House district 91. Emily Lofgren ran her father's first Iowa House campaign in 2010, when he defeated three-term incumbent Democrat Nathan Reichert.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 797 words in story)

IA-02: Mark Lofgren is first Republican to challenge Dave Loebsack (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 16:50:00 PM CDT

State Representative Mark Lofgren of Muscatine will formally announce tomorrow that he is running against four-term Representative Dave Loebsack in Iowa's second Congressional district, James Q. Lynch reported today for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. After the jump I've posted Lofgren's official bio and material from the "issues" and "endorsements" pages of his campaign website. Of the seventeen current Iowa House Republicans and four former state representatives who have endorsed Lofgren, four live in Loebsack's district. Dan Dolan, who lost last year's GOP primary in IA-02 to John Archer, has also endorsed Lofgren.

As of June 2013, the 24 counties in IA-02 contain 170,130 active registered Democrats, 138,390 Republicans, and 180,950 no-party voters. Loebsack defeated Archer by a comfortable margin in 2012, but in the 2010 midterm election he needed help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to fend off a challenge by Mariannette Miller-Meeks, winning by only about 11,000 votes in what was then a more Democratic-leaning district.

Governor Terry Branstad appointed Miller-Meeks to lead the Iowa Department of Public Health in 2011. The GOP challenger to Loebsack in 2008 as well as 2010, Miller-Meeks has attended some Republican Party events this year and confirmed last week that she is still considering a third Congressional bid. Having fallen short in the 2010 Republican wave, Miller-Meeks would likely face an uphill battle persuading GOP primary voters that she deserves another chance to win this district.

Lofgren's decision leaves Iowa House district 91 open for the 2014 election cycle. This swing district currently contains 6,300 registered Democrats, 6,291 Republicans, and 8,401 no-party voters. A detailed district map is at the bottom of this post. Democrat Nathan Reichert represented the Muscatine area in the Iowa House for three terms, losing to Lofgren in the 2010 wave. Lofgren defeated Democratic challenger John Dabeet last year by 915 votes.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 938 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Iowa state legislative race edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? A bunch of posts on Iowa House and Senate races are in the works for the next couple of weeks. Several Democratic candidates for the Iowa House have been targeted by push-polls similar to the one I received attacking Susan Judkins in House district 43. Direct mail pieces are resurrecting some of the dishonest Republican talking points of the 2010 campaign, including non-existent "heated sidewalks" allegedly funded with state money, fancy flowerpots and "bus service for lobbyists."

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee strategists included three Iowa Senate races in the new list of 50 essential state legislative races around the country. Those are Senate district 26, where Democratic incumbent Mary Jo Wilhelm faces Republican incumbent Merlin "build my fence" Bartz, Senate district 46, pitting Republican incumbent Shawn "Go Home" Hamerlinck against challenger Chris Brase, and Senate district 49, an open seat pitting almost-elected 2010 GOP candidate Andrew Naeve against longtime teacher and planning and zoning commissioner Rita Hart on the Democratic side.

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, who is working hard to preserve his 26-24 edge in the chamber, has chaired the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee since 2007. Republicans failed to recruit a strong candidate against Gronstal in the new Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs and Carter Lake.

This is an open thread. If you've noticed any interesting direct mail, phone calls, radio or television commercials supporting or attacking Iowa House and Senate candidates, please post a comment here, put up your own diary, or send a message to desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com. Most of the candidates are not uploading their campaign advertising to YouTube. Remember not to hang up the phone when you get calls targeting your local state legislative candidates. Instead, take detailed notes if you can, and don't be afraid to ask the caller to repeat the questions.

UPDATE: Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack will be at today's Reichert Oktoberfest in Muscatine supporting state Senate Candidates Brase and Tom Courtney and state House Candidates John Dabeet and Sara Sedlacek.  

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

First look at the Obama and Romney ground games in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:45:00 AM CDT

At this time four years ago, Barack Obama's campaign had about 30 field offices up and running in Iowa, compared to six offices for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Obama's campaign has had eight Iowa field offices open this summer and is rolling out another 26 offices around Iowa this weekend. So far, Mitt Romney's campaign has ten Iowa field offices, in addition to the unified Republican headquarters in Urbandale.

After the jump, I compare the field office locations for each presidential campaign, grouped by Iowa Congressional district. Where relevant, I've also noted competitive Iowa House and Senate districts near the Obama and Romney field offices, although I doubt either presidential campaign will do much for down-ticket Democratic or Republican candidates.

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1966 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)

Iowa House district 91 preview: Mark Lofgren vs John Dabeet

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:46:13 AM CST

The list of potentially competitive Iowa House districts without a Democratic candidate shrank yesterday when the chair of the Muscatine Community College Business Department, John Dabeet, announced that he'll stand in the new Iowa House district 91.
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1240 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)

Iowa Senate district 46: Chris Brase vs Jim Hahn or Shawn Hamerlinck

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:17:10 AM CST

Democrats finally have an announced candidate in Iowa Senate district 46, one of their best pickup opportunities in the legislature's upper chamber. A district map is after the jump, along with background on Muscatine firefighter Chris Brase and the two incumbent senators who are potential GOP nominees.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1275 words in story)
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