Democrats are assured of maintaining their majority in the Iowa Senate, with one race headed for a recount and another to be decided in a December 11 special election.
Here's how the Democrats maintained their majority. Of the 24 Senate incumbents not up for re-election this year, thirteen are Democrats:
Nine Democratic incumbents were re-elected last night:
Tom Courtney (district 44)
Jeff Danielson (district 30)
Dick Dearden (district 16)
Mike Gronstal (district 8)
Pam Jochum (district 50)
Liz Mathis (district 34)
Brian Schoenjahn (district 32)
Steve Sodders (district 36)
Mary Jo Wilhelm (district 26)
Three Democratic candidates won open seats:
Janet Petersen (district 18)
Rich Taylor (district 42)
Rita Hart (district 49)
One Democratic candidate defeated a Republican incumbent:
Chris Brase (district 46)
John Beard has not conceded the open-seat race in Senate district 28. The Iowa Secretary of State's website shows Mike Breitbach ahead by 43 votes, while the Des Moines Register's site shows Breitbach ahead by 37 votes.
I don't know yet whether any provisional ballots remain to be counted. Late-arriving absentee ballots will count as long as they were postmarked by November 5. There will be a recount in Senate district 28.
Recounts did not change the outcome in the two closest Iowa Senate races in 2010.
The results in Senate district 22 do not count because of Senator Pat Ward's untimely death last month. Republicans meet on November 8 to select a nominee to face Democrat Desmund Adams in the December 11 special election. Ward's widower, John Ward, is seeking the nomination, but other candidates are expected to step forward. Republicans have a sizable voter registration advantage in Senate district 22.
Any comments about the Iowa Senate elections are welcome in this thread.
UPDATE: I should have mentioned that Merlin Bartz wasn't ready to concede Senate district 26 to Wilhelm last night. I don't see how he can make up a 120-vote margin with late-arriving absentee ballots.
SECOND UPDATE: Bartz conceded on Wednesday but tried to cast a shadow over the outcome.
"I congratulate Sen. Wilhelm on her victory," he said in a news release.
"She ran a stellar campaign and I wish her the best in her service next January."
Bartz said he and his family wanted to thank all his volunteers and supporters.
"We have analyzed the 120 vote margin in conjunction with additional provisional and absentee ballots that are being and may be received and do not believe they would change the outcome and have chosen to not seek a recount," said Bartz.
"I continue to be troubled by the ongoing criminal investigation into voter fraud in Floyd County but do not believe that prolonging the election until the prosecution is finished is in the best interest of the citizens of this district or of this state."
I knew it
Merlin Bartz wasn't ready to concede
he's muttering about the DCI investigation(s). I've been expecting candidates on the wrong side of a close race to sniff around for illegal voters. If he can only cobble together 119 absentees/provisionals/recount additions/illegal voters, perhaps he can claim the paper cutout voted to arrive at magic 120.
Merlin Bartz, Sore Loser
The DCI investigation is going exactly nowhere. The Floyd County Auditor, Gloria Carr, is competent and a straight shooter. There is no there there, as will become apparent.
Given the level of effort put into absentee ballots in these counties by the Democrats, I would be astonished if they changed the result.
Moment of silence
for Nate Willems. Great candidate, great legislator in two House terms, grat guy.
that was a damn shame
Delaware County was too tough, especially since we didn't have a House candidate in district 96. I was also disappointed to see Kristin Keast fall just short in HD-95. She seemed like a great person.
Lesson of the year:
Good fences make good neighbors
I still can't believe
that whole episode. He must be such a cheapskate.
Wonder if Branstad will give him a new job.
Also too, this:
This topic made it into circulation, including letters to the editor.