Republican State Representative Julian Garrett has the wind at his back going into today's special election in Iowa Senate district 13. The district covers Madison County and most of Warren County. According to local elections officials, Republicans have returned 398 absentee ballots in Madison County, compared to 173 returned ballots from registered Democrats and 75 from no-party voters. In Warren County, Republicans have returned 947 ballots, compared to 767 from Democrats and 157 from no-party voters. Garrett lives in Madison County and represents that county plus parts of Warren County in the Iowa House. Democratic candidate Mark Davitt grew up in Madison County and has long lived in the Indianola area, representing much of Warren County in the Iowa House for six years.
There's no way to know yet which party was more successful identifying early supporters among independents, but GOP activists were able to generate more ballot requests and returns from partisans. As of November 1, Senate district 13 contained 13,291 registered Democrats, 15,037 Republicans, and 15,968 no-party voters.
Republican Senator Kent Sorenson's resignation opened up this seat. If Garrett wins, Democrats would maintain a 26 to 24 majority in the Iowa Senate. A win for Davitt would expand the majority to 27-23. Regardless of today's outcome, Senate district 13 will be on the ballot in 2014.