Crowded Republican primary coming in Iowa House district 91

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.

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Mark Cisneros running as Republican in Iowa House district 91

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.”

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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