IA-03: Who should run against David Young?

The Bleeding Heartland community has been discussing potential Democratic challengers in Iowa’s first Congressional district here, and I expect people will have equally strong views about who should run in IA-03. David Young will be a much tougher opponent in 2016 than Rod Blum, the surprise winner in IA-01. Democrats don’t have a voter registration advantage in the third district like they do in northeast Iowa. Young’s many contacts in Washington will help him raise a ton of money. Furthermore, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley plans to run for re-election in 2016 and will pull out all the stops to help his former chief of staff Young.

Among the 16 counties in IA-03, Polk County is the only place Democrats have any bench to speak of. Since more than half the registered voters in the Congressional district live in Polk County, it will be critically important for any Democratic challenger to run up the score there. President Barack Obama carried Polk by about 32,000 votes in 2012 but only gained about 51.4 percent of the vote throughout the Congressional district. So, I would guess that any Democratic candidate would need to win Polk County by between 25,000 and 30,000 votes to have a shot against Young.

No doubt many Democrats will be thinking about this race. State Senator Matt McCoy is almost a sure bet, since he was ready to run for Congress way back in 2002 and has said many times he would consider running after outgoing Representative Tom Latham retired. Having just been re-elected to a four-year term, McCoy would not have to give up his Iowa Senate seat to seek higher office in 2016.

State Senator Janet Petersen would be an excellent candidate, but she is up for re-election in 2016, so would have to choose between running against Young and seeking another term in Iowa Senate district 18.

What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers?

The 10 biggest Iowa political blunders of 2011

Let’s review the most boneheaded moves from the year in Iowa politics.

This thread is not about wrongheaded policy choices. It may be stupid to cut early childhood education programs, kneecap the state Environmental Protection Commission, or pass an “ag gag” bill that would never survive a court challenge. Yet all of those actions carry potential political benefits, since they appeal to well-funded interest groups or a large group of voters.

My top ten list of Iowa politicians’ mistakes is after the jump.

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Iowa Senate district 18: Preliminary post-election analysis

(A revealing look at absentee numbers and election-day results. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Without a doubt, the superlative early voting effort by Democrats and allied groups is largely responsible for Democrat Liz Mathis’ landslide victory over Republican Cindy Golding. Although the results are still unofficial and precinct-level demographics are not yet available, sufficient detail exists to draw some preliminary conclusions from the early reporting.

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Iowa Senate district 18 and local election results thread: Liz Mathis wins

Any comments on today’s election results are welcome in this thread. Polls closed at 9 pm in Iowa, but returns from the special election in Senate district 18 are coming in slowly. I will update this thread later as the outcome becomes clear. With six out of 40 precincts reporting, Democrat Liz Mathis leads Republican Cindy Golding by 5859 votes to 2474. UPDATE: Looks like a big win for Mathis. With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Mathis leads by 10,651 votes (58 percent) to 7,613 votes (41 percent).

SECOND UPDATE: The Linn County Auditor’s office posted unofficial results here (pdf). With all 40 precincts reporting, Mathis received 13,184 votes (55.8 percent), Golding received 10,283 votes (43.5 percent), and Constitution Party candidate Jon Tack received 151 votes (0.64 percent).

Democrats have retained control of the Iowa Senate with a 26-24 majority for the 2012 legislative session. It may even be a “stronger” majority if Mathis turns out to be less conservative than her predecessor, Swati Dandekar. Iowa Senate Republicans won’t be in a good mood when they elect a new minority leader on Thursday.

Nationally, Democrats have had good election results in Ohio (repealing a law that restricted collective bargaining rights) and Kentucky (holding the governor’s chair). It’s not yet clear whether Democrats will retain a Virginia Senate majority. I was surprised to see that Mississippi voters defeated a “personhood” ballot initiative stating that life begins at conception.

What races are you watching tonight? The incumbents on the Des Moines City Council easily won re-election. My two preferred candidates lost the Windsor Heights City Council election. Other Polk County results are here.

THIRD UPDATE: Democrats and allies are celebrating the Mathis victory with statements I’ve posted after the jump. The Iowa Democratic Party had lots of outside help with early GOTV from labor unions such as the Iowa State Education Association, the LGBT advocacy group One Iowa, the Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC, and the national 527 group Progressive Kick.

FOURTH UPDATE: An amazing result from Arizona tonight: voters recalled State Senate President Russell Pearce, author of the notorious “show me your papers” immigration law (which is being litigated in federal court). Apparently no state senator has ever been recalled in Arizona before. Pearce had been a leading opponent of the state’s “clean elections” public financing system.

FINAL UPDATE: The official canvass showed 13,324 votes for Mathis (56.0 percent), 10,322 votes for Golding (43.4 percent), 151 votes for Tack, and nine write-in votes.

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