Enter Bleeding Heartland's 2012 Iowa primary election prediction contest

Iowa primary elections are coming up next Tuesday, so it’s time for another Bleeding Heartland election prediction contest. A dozen questions are after the jump. There are so many competitive Iowa House and Senate primaries that it was difficult for me to choose. I tried to achieve some geographical balance and cover different types of primaries (open-seat races vs. challenges to incumbents, safe seats for one party vs. swing districts).

To enter the contest, post your predictions as comments in this thread before 7 am 6 pm on June 5. Predictions submitted by e-mail will not be considered. It’s ok to change your mind, as long as you post your revised predictions as an additional comment in this thread before the deadline.

No money’s at stake here, just bragging rights. This isn’t like “The Price is Right”; the winning answers will be closest to the final results, whether or not they were a little high or low. Even if you have no idea, please try to take a guess on every question.

1. What percentages of the vote will Ben Lange and Rod Blum receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa’s first Congressional district?

2. What percentages of the vote will John Archer and Dan Dolan receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa’s second Congressional district?

3. What percentages of the vote will incumbent Representative Dave Loebsack and State Senator Joe Seng receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa’s second Congressional district?

4. What percentages of the vote will State Senator Pat Ward (a Mitt Romney endorser) and Jeff Mullen (a Michele Bachmann endorser backed by social conservative activists) receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa Senate district 22? This district covers Waukee, Clive, Windsor Heights, and parts of West Des Moines.

5. What percentages of the vote will former State Senator Larry McKibben (recruited and publicly supported by Governor Terry Branstad) and Jane Jech (endorsed by tea party activists and Bob Vander Plaats’ FAMiLY Leader) receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa Senate district 36? This district covers Marshall and Tama counties.

6. What percentages of the vote will incumbent State Senators Jim Hahn and Shawn Hamerlinck receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa Senate district 46? This is the only Iowa Senate primary pitting two incumbents against each other. The district covers parts of Muscatine and Scott counties.

7. What percentages of the vote will State Representatives Pat Grassley and Annette Sweeney receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa House district 50? This is the only Iowa House primary pitting two incumbents against each other. It’s also a “proxy war” between Senator Chuck Grassley (grandfather to Pat) and Bruce Rastetter (friend of Sweeney’s since childhood). The district covers Grundy County and parts of Hardin and Butler counties.

8.  What percentages of the vote will State Representative Ron Jorgensen and challenger Matthew Ung receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa House district 6? This is the new version of the Sioux City area district formerly represented by Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants. He is backing Jorgensen.

9.  What percentages of the vote will Donna Amandus, Bob Morawitz, and Rich Taylor receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa Senate district 42? This is the open seat in the southeast corner of Iowa long represented by Gene Fraise, who is retiring.

10. What percentages of the vote will David Johnson and Dick Schwab receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa House district 73? This is the open seat being vacated by retiring Republican Speaker Pro-Tem Jeff Kaufmann. The district covers Cedar County, part of Johnson County, and one town in Muscatine County.

11. What percentages of the vote will Marti Anderson, Cara Kennedy-Ode, and William Rock receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa House district 36? This is the open seat on the northwest side of Des Moines being vacated by Janet Petersen, who is running for the new Senate district 18.

12. This is the tie-breaker question. Not counting the Grassley-Sweeney race between two House incumbents, eleven Iowa House Republicans face primary challengers next Tuesday: Jeff Smith, Ron Jorgensen, Henry Rayhons, Tom Shaw, Greg Forristall, Cecil Dolecheck, Julian Garrett, Joel Fry, Kevin Koester, Jarad Klein, and House Majority Whip Erik Helland. How many of those GOP incumbents will lose their primary races?

Good luck, and remember: you can’t win if you don’t play.

About the Author(s)


  • where

    are your predictions? SD22?

    • now posted below

      I wanted to wait and see the last set of financial reports, which were due on the Friday before the primary. The May 19 Iowa candidates’ reports on campaign contributions and spending are here. The pre-primary reports are here.

  • suggest

    you get the ball rolling! Most of us don’t live in any of these districts. What about this guy? How will he do?

  • Iowa House 73

    I predict David Anderson will receive zero votes since he is not on the ballot.

    Paul Deaton

  • I'll go out on a limb

    and pick Senator Pat Ward for the win on Tues despite the conventional wisdom that a low-turnout primary favors the juiced evangelical crowd.


    I think a sufficient number of people aren’t happy with the idea of Mullen as senator. Sure, Desmund Adams has been selling himself as an alternative should this come to pass, but with the R-registration advantage in the district, if you really don’t care for Mullen, the time to stop this is now.

    As I type, Ward is arriving at a ‘meet and greet’ in Waukee. Host #1 is a parent who went on the record as super-angry about the day care fiasco:

    You need look no further than Waukee’s Point of Grace Children’s Academy (previously the Happy Time Day Care Center) to see what sort of changes the Religious Right would inflict on all Americans if they controlled the federal government.

    Staff members were recently sent letters informing them of the institution’s “reorganization.”  Workers who expected to keep their jobs were forced to reapply for their positions and sign documents pledging that “every employee accept and follow a lifestyle commitment based upon Biblical principles.”

    Happy Time parent Andi Tisor of Waukee said she’s most upset that parents were not given any inkling of the changes prior to Friday. The way the church treated staffers was also disconcerting. The end result, Tisor said, was to remove her 16-month-old daughter from the facility.  “The church is basically telling me that because of their (staffers) lifestyles, they are not qualified to take care of my daughter,” she said.  Bonnie Ribbens, one of the Happy Time directors, was also let go.  “I am confused and hurt and distraught over this,” Ribbens said.  “I felt I was great in my position and I met the requirements.”

    Host #2 is an attorney for ABI with links to ITR. Aside: also was the attorney involved w/ the anonymous buy at the Straw Poll (McCotter).

    Mullen has now managed to piss off the IA Bar Association with his radio ad claiming that they endorsed Ward and also were responsible for judges/gay marriage, blah-blah-blah. Let me add that the braying (or he’s sneezing) makes him sound like a nutter. It’s a fairly desperate ad, and that’s what people resort to when they aren’t confident of winning.

    I imagine a solid fraction of the local IABA membership live in SD22. When it gets to the point that the IABA is threatening to sue you, you are probably no longer a viable candidate.

    Some liberals will choose to stop the nonsense now. Actually, one liberal tweeted exuberantly to Ward4Iowa that she’d just voted for her. Ward responded with her thanks. Mullen was on the case and apparently he (or his staff/supporters) did some research:

    Sadly, Ward felt compelled to delete her “thank you.” Any conservative who believes Ward actually has the support of Planned Parenthood is being silly. Obviously, this is a case of “lesser evilism” and tough luck for “outraged” Pastor Mullen — every vote counts.

    It’s adding up. But now, let’s look at end game GOTV. Pat Ward had $37K+ cash on hand (5/19) and is debt-free. Mullen had $10K on hand and a $2K loan.

    I think she will succeed in getting a sufficient nr of her people to the polls. I’ll post a number before the deadline.

    • Channel 8

      …tried to do a profile of this race.  They had a lot of sound with Pat Ward, but apparently Pastor Mullen could not be bothered to sit for an interview.  Whenever a politician is not willing to make him/herself available for free TV time, that is a big red flag as far as I’m concerned. If they can’t even handle softballs lobbed by local TV, that’s pretty bad.

  • Grassley v Sweeney

    Going w/ Grassley. Have not followed this race closely on the assumption that the loser gets a soft landing in the Branstad admin or similar. Gut says that late-breaking negative ads indicate some desperation. I’d hate to run against a “Grassley” in that district.

    Loebsack v Seng is something of a no-brainer given the lack of a Seng campaign. Seng gets the standard “protest vote” at something around 15%.

    Lange vs Blum — Blum has a prickly personality and clearly hasn’t managed a district-wide campaign. Lange has the name recognition and is the easy vote. Lange wins easily.

  • Predictions

    1. Lange-53


    2.  Archer-54


    3.  Loebsack-72


    4.  Ward-62


    5.  McKibben-65


    6.   Adjunct professor who dislikes college kids-55


    7.  Grassley-54


    (It would be fascinating as heck if I were wrong on that one)

    8.  Ung-53


    9.    Taylor-47



    (I voted for Amandus so I hope I’m wrong.  Morawitz has been running radio ads, but I haven’t heard one so I don’t know how effective they might be.)

    10.  Schwab-61


    Schwab is a bit of a controversial figure as nearly any successful business person  might be, we all can rub people the wrong way with a given project.  If he loses I will have underestimated the amount of anger out there.  

    11.  Anderson-52



    12. 2

    • I think you're right

      on #9, which is local to you, right? Taylor seems to have a lot of support + not being from Ft Madison helps. A woman against two men is usually a good place to be, but not this time.

      • Yep

        Yep, this is my local race.  Taylor got the endorsement of the Lee County Labor Council (I doubt they even interviewed the two other candidates) Donna Amandus got in the race a little late and I just don’t think she had enough time to make up the ground.

        Bob Morawitz is a great candidate as well, he’s just to over the top with the attack the rich stuff, criticizing  Chet Culver for not being strong enough on labor issues during his tenure, etc.  

    • Taylor has a double edge

      with AFSCME support and being the only Mt. Pleasant candidate against two from Ft. Madison.

      LOL, “adjunct professor who dislikes college kids.”

  • my predictions

    I think Tuesday will be a good day for the Iowa Republican establishment and a generally disappointing day for the challengers/more conservative underdogs.

    1. Lange 65 percent, Blum 35 percent

    2. Dolan 53 percent, Archer 47 percent

    My gut feeling is informed by the following: Dolan’s done more direct mail, and his tv ads seem more appealing to me than Archer’s. Also, Archer is a client of Victory Enterprises, which would have released an internal poll showing their candidate ahead by now if they had one.

    3. Loebsack 79 percent, Seng 21 percent

    Seng hasn’t done any campaigning to speak of, and Loebsack’s spent almost no money, indicating that he is not worried. If there were no Republican primary competition in this district, Republicans for Seng could have become a real problem for Loebsack.

    4. Until a couple of months ago I saw no signs of life from Ward’s campaign. But she and her allies have been working this race since April, and I think enough of the old-fashioned non-extreme Republicans are tuned in to keep her in the Senate. Ward 55 percent, Mullen 45 percent

    5. McKibben has an electoral track record and has raised more money. There’s a reason the governor got involved to recruit a better candidate than Jech. McKibben 58 percent, Jech 42 percent

    6. Hahn’s financial reports show almost nothing raised since January 1. Hamerlinck doesn’t have a ton of money but has at least been getting some donations from people in his district. I assume he is working the doors harder as well. Hamerlinck 55 percent, Hahn 45 percent

    7. I am going with Sweeney on this one. The Grassley family is beloved, but Grandpa Chuck is known as someone who delivers for constituents. Pat Grassley hasn’t developed that reputation. It’s not that I think people in the district know or care what Brad Zaun or Chris Rants think–it’s more that I suspect people recognize what Zaun and Rants said out loud. Sweeney is an effective legislator, Grassley doesn’t do much. The latest financial reports show that most of Pat Grassley’s money down the home stretch of the campaign came from people in the MD or VA suburbs of Washington, DC (friends of Chuck). Although the biggest chunk of money to Sweeney was $40,000 from Team Iowa PAC (proxy for Bruce Rastetter/Nick Ryan), she had more local donors than Grassley did. I say Sweeney 52 percent, Grassley 48 percent.

    8. Sorry tea party, Jorgensen’s no rookie to elections, even though he’s a first-term Iowa House member. I think he takes this one easily, 60 percent to 40 percent for Ung.

    9. Thinking that support from AFSCME and being from Mt. Pleasant will carry Taylor across the line here. Taylor 45 percent, Amandus 35 percent, Morawitz 20 percent

    10. Schwab 55 percent, Johnson 45 percent

    11. This is the district next door for me. Outgoing Representative Janet Petersen hasn’t endorsed in the primary. All the candidates have been canvassing and have volunteers door-knocking and/or phone-banking on their behalf. Marti Anderson and Cara Kennedy-Ode have raised more money and seem to have more yard signs out than William Rock. Anderson has a campaign flyer listing dozens of women supporters, starting with Bonnie Campbell and Roxanne Conlin and including many Des Moines area women who are active with progressive non-profit organizations (Planned Parenthood, environmental groups, Interfaith Alliance, Sustainable Priorities, public health advocates, etc.) There seems to be a generational divide in this race, and I am betting that enough older Democrats will vote in the primary to carry the day for Anderson. I am going with Anderson 43 percent, Kennedy-Ode 38 percent, Rock 19 percent.

    12. Not counting the loser of the Grassley/Sweeney race, three Iowa House Republican incumbents will lose to primary challengers.

    • 100% agree on Jorgensen

      based on the district, which is the “SD22” of the Sioux City area, affluent, informed, etc. Also, Jorgensen is sitting on a ton of cash while Ung is broke. Jorgensen works at a college. Game over. Ung’s best asset is a well-respected father as far as I can tell.

      I was going to go with 55-45 on Ward/Mullen. Hmm, pressure to change so this can be a contest?

      Most of these challengers are running on the “Iowa should be like South Dakota” platform. Here is what’s really depressing. Ward and Jorgensen both represent the more affluent/educated areas in their regions but neither had the political courage to just say: this is INSANE, but instead took a fake late pander-vote on Medicaid funding.

      McKibben, of course. Jech might be credible as a “bold, new” if she were new and didn’t suffer from the “loser” tag.

      Both Ung and Jech cite Santorum — the dude with no money — for the wing and prayer approaches. He did it, so can we!

      Not convinced on Sweeney yet, although I agree she’s the better legislator. Problem is that the vote hinges on an area not represented by either in Grundy County. These forums tend to have small attendance, and I have to think that more than a few “low-info” types will vote on name. Grundy doesn’t want to see a “98-county” tour in the future, heh. Have to mull this one a bit more.

      The race that’s toughest is the Dem primary/HD73. It appears that Johnson’s chief argument is that Johnson (the county) is only a small portion of the district (otherwise Cedar + Wilton in Muscatine), so Schwab will be painted as an “elitist.” This race seems to be all about which grown-up to send in against the cherubic-faced, frat boy type in a toss-up (slim Dem advantage) district. More mulling, don’t see Schwab as a lock at this point.

      No clue on Dolan/Archer, but Dolan has a funny riff when he’s introducing his family (depends on rendition) that goes something like this:

      My daughter goes to a real school now, Ames.

      She used to go to Cornell College.

      She called me up one day while exercising, and said, Dad, there’s an old guy next to me trying to talk to me — his name is Dave Loebsack.

      Archer has seemed a little panicked as of late. His King-pander clearly was a stab at picking up some votes in the “forgotten” counties of old IA-05 like Clarke. Will it work? More mulling.

      I can’t find a whole lot of insurgents to knock of incumbents. Best oppo is probably against Smith in NW IA, which I guess is why Northey rushed to endorse. The others don’t look like much.  

      • something you don't hear every day

        A Republican mocking a private college, then saying the state university is a “real” school by comparison. Cornell has a good reputation in Iowa–no need to run it down just because Loebsack was on the faculty.

        No idea whether Johnson or Schwab would be the better general election candidate in HD-73.

        I seriously considered becoming a Republican for a day in order to vote for Ward until the day in April when she cast that Medicaid vote. Her radio ad defending that part of her record was depressing.

        I could be wrong about Sweeney. Grassley’s tv ad is pretty good.

        • I'd vote Ward

          in a heartbeat just to get this over with and not tempt the fates. I thought you were the lesser evilist? If you’re going to claim that they’re the same, please refer to the latest issue of (chuckle), DM Metro Today. I must say it’s hilarious, and the cartoons on page 3 are inspired. So much to enjoy …  

  • Criswell predicts...

    Haven’t been following many of the outstate races, but from Rockm’s porch, it looks like this:

    Grassley beats Sweeney.  Granpa’s working the district hard behind the scenes. Grassley’s raised more money. I’m going with PG but not by much.

    Ward over Mullen.  She’s been working hard in the closing days, seen a lot of signs, there are enough not-whacky GOPers in her District to put her over the top. But if Mullen wins, wondering if those same reasonable GOPers would consider Desmund Adams just to keep Mullen out of there. Desmund is an impressive guy, I think.

    My favorite race, HD 36. A real barn burner.

    Marti Anderson put together a very impressive campaign on short notice, and I think she has the big MO.

    Cara has worked her tail off. Been at it a while.  Raised more money. She also has support from some senior Demos – Connie Cook comes to mind off the top of my head.

    IMHO I don’t care about all these female old pols on Marti’s list.  Frankly, their track records as candidates ain’t all that great. Insert excuses/reasons here. Old news.

    It is time for a new generation of women to get their chance.  Women with young children in school, women who have worked in the private sector, who own businesses, etc. Cara and her husband own a business, own commercial property, etc. These are the women who need to step up, and some have. I’m sure Marti will be fine if she wins, but at candidate forums she talks about what she did in the 70’s.  C’mon, let’s move on.

    Will the party insider (Anderson) win? Or does a non-annointed candidate, working long and hard, with good ideas, and raising the necessary resources, doing things the right way (CKO) have a shot?

    I hope she does, for all the women, (and men too) non politicians who have been sitting on the sidelines, watching the country go to hell because they won’t get involved. We will see on Tuesday.  

    The envelope please…found on Funk and Wagnall’s porch at noon today: Rockm says Cara in a squeaker 52-48.

    • oops

      Forgot about Chris…uh….William Rock…revising margin…Cara 48/Marti 46/Chris Rock 6%

    • Anderson/HD36

      agree w/ the sentiment you express here. Looked at her web site and thought it was the bicentennial year. My mood ring tells me she’ll probably win, though.

      • Mood Ring !

        LOL ! If Marti wins, the victory party will be held at Disco Inferno or maybe Mothers. (for old time des moinesans only)

    • the old female activist list

      isn’t aimed at voters like you.

      I think it is unfair to dismiss Anderson as a “party insider,” and doubly unfair to suggest that she isn’t “doing things the right way” (like CKO). She spent decades as a social worker and accomplished a lot more in her career than most legislators have done:

      Marti Anderson, a native of Des Moines, is committed to crime victim services and victim justice leadership and has developed pioneer services for victims. She helped establish 17 rape crisis centers in Iowa; the Polk County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, which was the first Iowa domestic abuse shelter and services program; 34 Child Abuse Prevention Councils in local communities; and developed the state’s first three day training curriculum to address child sexual abuse. Anderson was appointed founding director of the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division and under her direction, the division developed seven victim service programs. Although Anderson retired in June 2011, she continues to consult with national organizations regarding victim rights and service, organizational development, and management and is a nationally recognized crime victim advocate, trainer, and speaker. She has been a generous mentor to scores of Social Workers and crime victim advocates. She has received many awards and recognition for her work and volunteer service including Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iowa Organization for Victim Services and Des Moines Woman of Achievement from the YWCA.

      She also has more experience working with legislators than the other candidates do.

      The Iowa legislature has a lot of small business and commercial property owners already, as well as a lot of members with school-age kids.

      Preventing family violence and child abuse is extremely important and shouldn’t be dismissed as old news or less valuable than owning some commercial property.

      I think any of the HD36 candidates could do a good job, and all have worked hard, but I have encouraged my friends in the district to vote for Anderson.

      • Response

        She IS the party insider in this race, based on her endorsements.  Nothing wrong with that, but it is a fact.  When Tom Miller Roxanne Conlin Bonnie Campbell endorse you, you are pretty much the inside choice. And if you want the party status quo she is your candidate.  That’s fine.

        Domestic violence is an important issue, no question, but we have many more issues out there too, and I would favor someone with a broader view.  I’ve been to forums, and I think Cara is better prepared.  That is why I have urged all my friends in the district to support her.

        I am not saying Marti hasn’t run a fine race.  In fact, all the candidates have.  All three are good candidates.

        And yes there are many member of the legislature with small children, most of those members are men.  

        If CKO doesn’t win, the Republic will stand.  I’m just saying I would like to see someone besides the usual party people get a chance.   CKO has worked very hard, and deserves a chance.  

        • Marti Anderson has worked very hard

          for many years, as well as during this campaign. I disagree with you that she is less prepared to work in the legislature than Cara Kennedy-Ode. At the candidate forum in late April (Northwest Community Center in Des Moines) her answers on property taxes and other questions were just as solid as the others’.

          I decided a long time ago that at this blog, I’m not going to state a strong preference in Democratic primaries unless there is a clear “more progressive” choice, like Ako Abdul-Samad vs Clair Rudison in 2010. Having heard all of the HD-36 candidates speak and read their campaign materials, I believe all would be strong Democratic representatives. So, I haven’t been pushing my preference on the front page. I have friends in the district leaning toward each of the candidates.

          I think it is unfair for you to denigrate someone as an “insider” and “the usual party people” just because she has support from those who respect her accomplishments. “Party insider” makes it sound like she hasn’t done anything with her life besides phone banking and hack work. If Bonnie Campbell and Tom Miller think she managed her department effectively in the AG’s office, why shouldn’t they endorse her?

          Cara Kennedy-Ode may have strong potential, as does William Rock, and I would be satisfied with either of them in the legislature. Anderson is literally “Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame” material. It’s great to run a small business and coach soccer and volunteer at your kids’ school, but Anderson has had a greater impact on the lives of Iowans. Many organizations have recognized the value of her work. You can downplay its significance by calling it “the status quo,” but the way Iowa deals with victims of sexual assault, abuse and other crimes wasn’t “the status quo” before she started working on these issues.

      • perhaps that's the point

        isn’t aimed at voters like you

        Since my opinion literally comes from inside the beltway, at least for now, I look at all of these sites. I’ve never seen one quite like this. Usually, a candidate site seeks to engage as wide an audience as possible. Not here. The impression: establishment Dems were all at a party eating red, white and blue cake, and you weren’t invited.

        No ageism here. If HRC were to run in 2016, I would at least consider her candidacy. I was also an early supporter of hers in 2008, as I was a fan in the 90s. But over the course of the campaign, it was inescapable: what I admired was in the past. I also find that boomer liberalism is a poor fit for the times. Lots of reasons, esp changing demographics.

        Don’t doubt the accomplishments you’ve cited, but it doesn’t translate necessarily into effective representative. That said, I don’t have any requirements like “soccer mom” either. But that it wasn’t aimed at voters like me is probably about right. It was clubby and bandwagon-ish, while politics is all about “what can you do for me today?”

  • Denigrating?

    I could say you are denigrating CKO as a just soccer mom, but I won’t do that. But her being a business owner, coaching soccer and volunteering at school are exactly what attracts me to her as a candidate. That’s who I want to see in the legislature. Just looking for some fresh faces and some new blood.

  • Iowa Senate District 6

    Adam Schweers – 47

    Mark Segebart – 43

    Matthew Biede – 10

    Schweers is the establishment candidate. Branstad recruited him, calling him a political “superstar.”