Democrats on the south side of Des Moines may not have a competitive race to replace Kevin McCarthy in House district 33, but they'll still be at the center of an exciting primary in Iowa Senate district 17. Former State Senator Tony Bisignano is already running in the district State Senator Jack Hatch currently holds, and former State Representative Ned Chiodo is leaning toward running. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Nathan Blake confirmed by telephone this week that he is also exploring a candidacy in Senate district 17, pending Hatch's decision on whether to run for governor. Given that Hatch recently hired Grant Woodard to manage his exploratory committee and already ran a television commercial criticizing Governor Terry Branstad, I doubt there's any realistic chance Hatch will seek another term in the Iowa Senate in 2014.
Blake has worked in the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office since 2011. He originally moved to Des Moines out of law school and, after a few years in private practice, worked on Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Iowa in 2007 and 2008. Blake then served as special assistant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon.
Assuming Hatch runs for governor, the Senate district 17 Democratic primary could become an interesting generational battle between Bisignano and Chiodo, two war horses of the south side, and Blake, a relatively fresh face on the scene. Young professional Chris Diebel opted to run for the Des Moines City Council instead of for this Senate seat.