Alternate history: Jim Gibbons vs Leonard Boswell

Time for another Bleeding Heartland foray into counterfactual history, inspired by conversations with many Democrats and a few Republicans during the past week.

In early 2009, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Representative Leonard Boswell on its list of 40 “Frontline” Democrats, incumbents acknowledged to be vulnerable. House Democrats lost more than 60 seats on November 2, with most “tossup” seats falling to the GOP. Chet Culver lost the governor’s race by more than 100,000 votes, and Democrats fared worse than expected in the Iowa House and Senate races. Yet voters re-elected Boswell in a swing district (partisan voting index D+1). Not only that, he won by a larger margin than Bruce Braley. Who would have predicted that six months ago?

All of the above raises an obvious question: would Boswell be heading back to Congress if Republicans had nominated Jim Gibbons rather than Brad Zaun?  

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