Incumbents retiring in two battleground GOP-held Iowa Senate districts

During the last week before the filing deadline, Republican State Senators Mark Chelgren and Rick Bertrand announced that they will not seek re-election in 2018. Iowa Senate districts 41 and 7 were already the best Democratic pickup opportunities on a difficult midterm election map. Of the 29 Republicans now serving in the upper chamber, only four–Chelgren, Bertrand, Dan Dawson, and Tom Greene–hold seats where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans (barely in Dawson’s district). Dawson and Greene won’t be up for re-election until 2020.

Winning an open seat is usually easier than defeating a legislative incumbent, and Bertrand’s retirement clearly improves Democratic chances in Senate district 7.

But Republicans have likely increased their odds of holding Senate district 41 by swapping out Chelgren for Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

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Poll testing negative messages about Polk County candidate Matt McCoy

With the possible exception of Johnson County, nowhere in Iowa has seen more brutally hard-fought Democratic primaries than the south side of Des Moines. State Senator Matt McCoy’s decision to challenge Polk County Supervisor John Mauro has set up an “epic battle of the titans” in the county’s fifth district, covering most of the south side, plus downtown and central neighborhoods of the capital city (a map is at the end of this post).

A poll currently in the field includes positive information about both candidates but negative messages about McCoy alone.

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A misguided, irresponsible attempt to legalize discrimination

Andrew Duffelmeyer takes on Iowa Republicans’ “just plain wrong attempt to legalize discrimination against our LGBTQ friends” in the name of religious liberty. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Senate Local Government Committee is set to take up a bill aimed at legalizing discrimination against our LGBTQ friends and neighbors. Such an effort is certainly reprehensible and ought to be soundly defeated. But Senate Study Bill 3171 doesn’t do just that.

The architects of this so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” have created language so vague and broad that it would go far beyond allowing wedding venues, bakeries, or floral shops to refuse service to same-sex couples – the apparent “problem” this bill aims to address, based on subcommittee testimony. The bill would allow people to challenge any law or action of any state or local government on the basis that it infringes on their religious beliefs. The government would then have to satisfy a difficult legal standard to justify that infringement.

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First look at the Iowa Senate district 21 Democratic field (updated)

State Senator Matt McCoy announced yesterday that he will run for Polk County supervisor rather than for re-election to the Iowa legislature. His decision to challenge longtime Supervisor John Mauro in the Democratic primary sets up a “epic battle of the titans” in the fifth district, covering the south side of Des Moines, much of the city center and south of Grand areas on the west side. It also opens up Democratic-leaning Iowa Senate district 21.

Connie Ryan rolled out her candidacy yesterday but will likely have competition in the June 5 primary.

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