Catching up on pre-Thanksgiving news, recounts concluded on November 24 in the two Iowa Senate districts decided by extremely narrow margins. Republican Andrew Naeve conceded to Tod Bowman, who won the open Senate district 13 by 70 votes out of nearly 20,000 cast. Naeve netted only one vote during the recount. Democrats have a almost a two to one voter registration edge in this Senate district (pdf file), so it shouldn’t have been close even in a Republican wave year. The GOP also managed to win House district 25, which makes up half of Senate district 13, after convincing one of Bowman’s unsuccessful Democratic primary rivals to run for the House as a Republican.
Democratic incumbent Keith Kreiman conceded to Mark Chelgren on November 24 after a recount in Senate district 47 failed to change Chelgren’s 12-vote lead out of just over 19,000 cast. Kreiman had served two terms in the Iowa Senate and five terms in the Iowa House before that. Democrats have a voter registration advantage in Kreiman’s district, though not as large as in Senate district 13. Kreiman underperformed House Democratic incumbents Mary Gaskill (district 93) and Kurt Swaim (district 94), whose each represent half of his Senate district.
Democrats will be hoping that the redistricting puts Chelgren on the ballot in 2012, rather than after a full four-year term. Most even-numbered years, half of the 50 seats in the chamber are up for grabs, but in the first election after a new map is adopted, some “extra” races take place in Senate districts containing zero or more than one incumbent.
With Senate districts 13 and 47 now resolved, Iowa Democrats are assured of holding at least 26 seats in the upper chamber. Republicans hold 23 seats and are favored to win the January 4 special election in Senate district 48.