Ten Iowa legislative incumbents who raised surprisingly little for their re-election campaigns

Since the latest deadline for state legislative candidates to report to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board passed on May 19, I’ve been going through the forms filed by incumbents or challengers in potentially competitive races.

Some of the contribution totals were much lower than I expected to see.

Follow me after the jump for ten Iowa House or Senate incumbents who haven’t been focused on fundraising, even though they could face tough re-election campaigns.

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Prospects for increasing diversity in the Iowa legislature (post-filing edition)

Now that the deadline to compete in the Democratic or Republican primaries has passed, the field of candidates is set in most of the 100 Iowa House districts and 25 Iowa Senate districts that will be on the ballot this fall.

It’s time for a first look at chances to increase diversity in the state legislature for the next two years. The proportion of white lawmakers is unlikely to change, while the proportion of women could move in either direction.

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2014 election results discussion thread

Polls across Iowa close in just a few minutes, and I’ll be updating this post with results throughout the evening. Any comments about any of today’s races, in Iowa or elsewhere, are welcome in this thread.

Many races on the east coast and in the Midwest have already been called. As expected, Republicans picked up the U.S. Senate seats in West Virginia, Arkansas, and South Dakota. Louisiana will go to a runoff in December. Jeanne Shaheen held the New Hampshire Senate seat for Democrats, but Kay Hagan may be in trouble in North Carolina, and in a potentially stunning upset, Mark Warner is behind in Virginia. He needs a strong turnout in the DC suburbs.

As state-level results come in, these are the key Iowa Senate races to watch, and these are the key Iowa House races to watch. For the last four years, Democrats have held a 26-24 Iowa Senate majority. For the last two years, Republicans have held a 53-47 Iowa House majority.

UPDATE: Polls are closed and further updates will be after the jump. News organizations called the governor’s race for Terry Branstad immediately.  

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20 Iowa House races to watch tonight

Thanks to Iowa’s non-partisan redistricting process, we have an unusually large number of competitive state legislative districts. In any given general election, depending on candidate recruitment, between one dozen and two dozen of the 100 Iowa House districts could be up for grabs. Democrats and Republicans spend big money on a much smaller number of districts; this year, only seven Iowa House races involved a large amount of television advertising. But the parties and candidates invest in direct mail and/or radio commercials in many more places than that.

Republicans go into election day favored to hold their Iowa House majority, which now stands at 53 seats to 47. Carolyn Fiddler has pegged seven “districts to watch” at her Statehouse Action blog, and in September, the Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble discussed five districts he viewed as “key to Iowa House chamber control.” I see the playing field as much larger.

Follow me after the jump to review 20 Iowa House seats that will determine control of the chamber for the next two years.

Caveat: most years, there’s at least one shocking result in an Iowa House district neither party had their eye on. I’m thinking about Tami Weincek defeating a longtime Democratic incumbent in Waterloo in 2006, Kent Sorenson defeating a Democratic incumbent in Warren County in 2008, three Democratic state representatives who had run unopposed in 2008 losing in 2010, and Democrat Daniel Lundby taking out the seemingly safe Republican Nick Wagner in the Linn County suburbs in 2012. Wagner had run unopposed in the previous election.

So, while I don’t expect any of the “favored” seats discussed below to change hands, I would not rule out a surprise or two. That would be excellent news for the stealth challenger’s party.

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Prospects for increasing diversity in the Iowa legislature

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.

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Iowa local election results discussion thread

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.

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