New thread on Iowa election results

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that overall turnout in Iowa in 2008 was lower than it was in 2004. That is surprising, given the well-documented surge in new voter registrations.

Which people who participated in 2004 stayed home yesterday, and how did that affect the results?

Tom Harkin won all 99 counties, which is remarkable considering that John McCain beat Barack Obama in 46 or 47 of Iowa's counties. Even in Republican areas, they're looking for more in a U.S. senator than trash talk and smackdowns. Does anyone remember whether Chuck Grassley carried all 99 counties in 2004?

(UPDATE: The Daily Kos election scoreboard shows Christopher Reed beating Harkin in Page County in the southwest part of the state and in the four counties in the northwest corner. There may be a mistake on the Des Moines Register's map, which shows all 99 counties in blue for the Senate race.)

The words "idiot" and "insane person" will be removed from the Iowa Constitution.

Speaking of idiots, Steve King got away with barely campaigning in the fifth district, winning by at least 20 points. Politics can be cruel, and I feel for Rob Hubler, who worked so hard for so long to give fifth district residents a credible candidate.

Nationwide, many Democratic challengers in districts like IA-05 fell far short. Nancy Boyda, a surprise winner from 2006 in KS-02, was a surprise loser last night. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested millions of dollars in other similarly Republican districts like MN-06 and AZ-03, and our challengers lost those too.

After beating Kim Schmett by 57 percent to 42 percent (about double his margin of victory in 2006), third district Congressman Leonard Boswell immediately vowed to run for re-election in 2010. Can't some Democratic heavy-hitters who are on good terms with Boswell encourage him to retire? Barring that, is there anyone willing to start fundraising for a 2010 primary challenge who would have some establishment support?

We may have to run against Tom Latham in a redrawn third district in 2012, and it would be helpful to have a new Democratic incumbent in place before that happens.

Bruce Braley was the incumbent re-elected by the largest margin, 64 percent to 36 percent. I agree with John Deeth that Republican moderates are going to challenge Dave Hartsuch in his 2010 state senate primary.

Dave Loebsack won big in the second district, by 57 percent to 39 percent. The hill in this D+7 district is just too steep for a Republican candidate to climb. Mariannette Miller-Meeks would be better off seeking a different political office in the future, although the Iowa GOP may encourage her to run for Congress again in 2010. Loebsack won't have the Barack Obama turnout machine cranking in Johnson and Linn counties two years from now.

Iowa Democrats are looking at small net gains in the House and Senate. Dawn Pettengill got away with switching to the GOP after the Iowa Democratic Party worked hard to elect her. A couple of races may have a different result once the absentee and provisional ballots are counted. Deeth has more details.

Jerry Sullivan has not ruled out requesting a recount in House district 59, although it seems unlikely to me that there are enough provisional and absentee ballots outstanding for him to reverse Chris Hagenow's 141-vote lead (out of more than 16,000 votes cast).

UPDATE: Johnson County voters narrowly approved a controversial bond measure. The proposal was designed to generate

$20 million in a 20-year period to conserve open space.

By collecting taxes for two decades, the Johnson County Conservation Board will have the funds to buy and preserve remnant areas of land scattered throughout the county from willing sellers.

  • Harkin won all but 5

    Check out this map: (click on Senate, then Iowa)

    How do you figure Harkin won all 99?  This is obviously a small point - he did really, really well and I'm sure won more counties then he ever has before.

    • the Des Moines Register's map

      shows all 99 counties in blue on the U.S. Senate race.

      I will try to figure out which is correct--that or the Daily Kos scoreboard.

      I think in 2002 Harkin won 60-something counties.

  • Grassley 2004

    From what I see here, he did carry all 99 counties:

    I've been following turnout as well.  Mauro's numbers from this morning have been adjusted down since some ballots were counted twice and for some reason the Register has been reporting skewed numbers from past races.  It looks like Polk county turnout is much greater than 2004, but statewide it's pretty close to the same as 2004.  If more people truly are registered, this means a lower percent turnout than 2004 which I definitely didn't expect.

    • talked to someone in western Iowa

      today who thought Democratic turnout might have been down in the fifth district. He hadn't analyzed the data, but that was his hunch.

      It makes sense that people who believed 1) Iowa was a lock for Obama, and 2) Harkin's opponent was a joke, and 3) there were no close down-ticket races in western Iowa might hot have bothered. Republicans, on the other hand, may have been motivated to strike down one-party rule.  

      • turnout data?

        I'm not sure where to get good turnout data;  I've been following the SOS and county auditors' sites but the numbers have been quoted differently elsewhere, including by Fitzgerald himself to the Des Moines Register ( and by the Des Moines Register alone (  These are just the 2004 numbers that are wrong (  When it comes to 2008, IowaPolitics said that voter turnout was up in number but not percent (, however they misquoted the number from 2004 (SOS site says 1.52 million) so basically if there is a difference from what I can tell it would just be a few thousand votes either direction with a decrease in percent thanks to the increased amount of registrants.

  • Western Iowa

    It appears hopeless out there. Hubler was the ideal candidate to run against King. If he loses, it's hopeless until re-apportionment. I feel for Hubler. How could he possibly lose with this economy, against such an idiot, that didn't campaign. Hopeless.  

    • we need to look at turnout

      It appears that Democratic turnout in the fifth may have been lower than in 2004. If that is true, we need to figure out why that happened.  

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