In recent weeks, I’ve heard from various sources that Republicans were shifting resources toward the race in Iowa Senate district 15. The longtime Democratic seat covering most of Jasper County and eastern Polk County is open because of Senator Dennis Black’s retirement. A district map is after the jump.
Confirming that Senate district 15 is a priority for both parties, positive ads for both candidates are now running on Des Moines area radio stations. Forty days before the election is relatively early for paid advertising to begin in an Iowa state legislative campaign, but with more Iowans voting by absentee ballot, candidates can’t afford to wait.
After the jump I’ve posted the transcript of the radio spot promoting Republican Crystal Bruntz and what I could remember from the Democratic ad promoting Chaz Allen. I’ll update this post with a full transcript if I can catch it on tape. UPDATE: Added the transcript below.
Allen’s commercial sounds more effective to me. For part of the time, the candidate speaks in his own voice, and the script connects him to economic development in the Newton area, where he was mayor and now heads the Jasper County Economic Development Corporation. The Republican ad for Bruntz wraps biographical information around a more generic “she’ll help grow the economy for our children” message. It does not give listeners any clue where the candidate is running for state Senate. The pro-Bruntz spot has one good feature: it doesn’t start out sounding like a political ad, which probably keeps some listeners from instantly changing the station.
I will be surprised if Bruntz pulls out a victory here. My sense is that Republicans are targeting Senate district 15 for lack of a better idea. Having failed to recruit a top-tier candidate in Senate district 27, they seem to recognize that beating three-term State Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City isn’t in the cards. But Republicans need at least two pickups to gain an Iowa Senate majority (assuming they hold all their current seats, no easy task). Aside from Ragan’s seat, the only other Democratic-held district on the ballot where Republicans have a voter registration advantage is Senate district 5, now held by Daryl Beall of Fort Dodge. They will go all-out for Beall’s seat, but they need at least one more gain.
Not only is Senate district 15 an open seat, it looks fairly competitive on paper with 13,869 active Democrats, 12,632 Republicans, and 13,542 no-party voters according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. That’s more promising for the GOP than other seats they could shoot for. I can’t see a Steve King staffer winning Ames-based Senate district 23. The Republican nominee in Senate district 29 is an amateur who had $50 in the bank four months before the election. While Republicans have an experienced office-holder running in Senate district 49, the voter registration numbers favor Democrats more there, and Senator Rita Hart is a hard-working incumbent.
Any comments about the Iowa Senate races are welcome in this thread. I appreciate tips from Bleeding Heartland readers on any direct mail, radio or television advertising for or against state legislative candidates. You can either post a comment on this site or send a confidential message to desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com.
An unidentified young woman does the voice-over for the first radio ad promoting Crystal Bruntz:
So I’m finally a senior in high school. Next year is college, and then after that I start looking for a job. Looks like I’ll have bigger things to worry about than a homecoming dress. [slight laugh in voice]
The question for me and my friends is simple: will we find jobs here in Iowa and live near our families, or will we have to go to Minneapolis or Kansas City? When you cast a vote, I hope you’ll think about that. I know I do.
I can’t tell you how to vote, but please take a look at Crystal Bruntz. [music starts playing in background as woman continues to talk] She knows a thing or two about job creation. With her accounting degree, she worked at Maytag and Pioneer. Then, Kum & Go hired her as a director.
Now, Crystal Bruntz wants to take her experience in business and put it to work creating jobs. If you talk to her, she’ll tell you how Iowa can grow jobs with fewer regulations and by making sure we keep a pro-business environment. Please cast a vote for Crystal Bruntz for State Senate. My generation will thank you.
Another female voice, possibly Bruntz’s: Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa, approved by Bruntz for Senate.
The commercial for Chaz Allen discussed his work as mayor Newton, helping the city recover economically from the closure of the Maytag plant. Allen described how he let corporations know that the community was still open for business. The ad also mentioned Allen’s more recent work for the Jasper County Economic Development Corporation. I will update this post with a transcript once I get the commercial on tape. Allen has better contacts in the business community than many Democratic candidates, and this commercial plays to that strength.
UPDATE: First radio ad for Chaz Allen:
Male voice-over, upbeat music in background: Newton, Iowa. It’s been called Iowa’s turnaround town. A town determined not to fall victim to outsourcing. When Maytag shut its doors, Mayor Chaz Allen stepped up.
Chaz Allen’s voice: I traveled across the country to recruit new industries here. Corporate executives, Republicans, Democrats… felt it was my job to tell the Newton story outside of Newton, so that everybody knew that we weren’t done yet. We were gonna come back from this.
Voice-over: Allen brought 1,400 jobs back to Newton. Good renewable energy jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.
Allen: Maytag may have left us, but hard work–that’s what saved us.
Voice-over: Now, as state senator, Chaz Allen will stay focused on job creation, giving Iowa companies first crack at state contracts. So our tax dollars create jobs here, not China.
Allen: We’ve brought a lot of jobs back but we’re never gonna be done. We’ve got more to do.
Voice-over: Chaz Allen: Putting Iowa back in business. Authorized by Chaz Allen for Senate, paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party.
Senate district 15 covers most of Jasper County, including Newton, Baxter, Colfax, Prairie City, and Mingo, as well as eastern Polk County, including Altoona, Bondurant, Mitchellville, and Elkhart.