Spoiler alert: yet again, I failed to win. One of these years…
Question 1: How many Democrats will cast ballots statewide in the four-way primary for U.S. Senate?
As a group, we did poorly on this question. No one guessed that turnout would fall below 100,000. Bleeding Heartland user iowadem came closest, predicting that 110,000 ballots would be cast in the Democratic Senate race, followed by JoshHughesIA (116,000) and rockm (121,000).
Although primary and general election turnout are not always correlated with one another, the lack of interest in the Senate race should concern Iowa Democratic leaders and candidates. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unusually unpopular major-party nominees, so it’s unclear whether the presidential race will drive strong turnout for either side.
Question 2: What percentage of the vote will each of the four Democrats seeking the U.S. Senate nomination (Tom Fiegen, Rob Hogg, Patty Judge, and Bob Krause) receive in the primary?
Result: Judge 47.6 percent, Hogg 38.9 percent, Fiegen 6.8 percent, Krause 6.6 percent
Most of us predicted Judge would win the primary. I did the best on the percentages: Judge 47, Hogg 39, Fiegen 8, and Krause 6.
In second place, gellerbach guessed Judge 46, Hogg 39, Fiegen 10, Krause 5.
JoshHughesIA was next: Judge 45, Hogg 38, Fiegen 11, Krause 6.
For what it’s worth, the Remington Research Group poll that put Hogg only 6 points behind Judge turned out to be more accurate than the Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register, showing Judge 17 points in front.
Question 3: What percentage of the vote will Pat Murphy and Monica Vernon receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa’s first Congressional district?
Result: Vernon 67.5 percent, Murphy 32.4 percent
We all correctly predicted that Vernon would win the nomination, but most people guessed her margin would be in the 10-12 point range. Kudos to NebIowaDem, who guessed Vernon 65 percent, Murphy 35 percent. Prairiefire guessed Vernon 62 percent, Murphy 38 percent. In third place, pretzelgraf pegged this race going 60-40 to Vernon.
Question 4: What percentage of the vote will Desmund Adams, Jim Mowrer, and Mike Sherzan receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa’s third Congressional district?
Result: Mowrer 49.6 percent, Sherzan 36.4 percent, Adams 13.9 percent
As a group, we did poorly on this question. Most of us predicted Sherzan would win the nomination. I can’t speak for others, but my wrong guess was informed by the Mowrer campaign’s decision to launch a negative tv ad less than a week before the primary. Candidates don’t typically do that when they think they are ahead. Furthermore, Sherzan’s campaign leaked partial results from an internal poll showing the candidate leading by double digits. I inferred that Sherzan was either ahead or gaining fast on Mowrer, who started the race with higher name recognition and a big lead in internal polling.
In any event, only three people correctly predicted Mowrer would be the Democratic nominee in IA-03: Bleeding Heartland user iowadem came closer (Mowrer 48 percent, Sherzan 40 percent, Adams 12 percent) than did ModerateIADem (Mowrer 41 percent, Sherzan 39 percent, Adams 20 percent) or Prized Liberty (Mowrer 38 percent, Sherzan 35 percent, Adams 17 percent).
Question 5: What percentage of the vote will Representative David Young and Joe Grandanette receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa’s third Congressional district?
Result: Young 84.7 percent, Grandanette 14.9 percent (very close to Governor Terry Branstad’s margin against his little-known 2014 primary challenger Tom Hoefling)
Most of us predicted Young would win more than 90 percent of the vote. The winner on this question was southiowamoderate, who put Young at 89 percent, followed by ModerateIADem (Young at 80 percent) and iowadem (91 percent for the incumbent).
Question 6: What percentage of the vote will Representative Steve King and Rick Bertrand receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa’s fourth Congressional district?
Result: King 64.7 percent, Bertrand 35.2 percent
All of us saw King surviving the challenge, but no one in our contest (and no one I know “in real life”) predicted that Vernon would win her primary by a larger margin than King won his. Remarkable.
JoshHughesIA nailed this one, putting King at 65 percent of the GOP primary vote. Bleeding Heartland user rockm guessed King would win 68 percent, and both southiowamoderate and aaroncampil put King at 71 percent.
Question 7: Will more Democrats cast ballots in the IA-01 race between Murphy and Vernon, or in the IA-03 race between Adams, Mowrer, and Sherzan?
A few late-arriving ballots may still be counted, but that won’t change the result: 31,080 votes in IA-01, and just 26,113 in IA-03. The following people got this answer right: aaroncampil, rockm, Prized Liberty, JoshHughesIA, iowadem, and gellerbach.
I guessed IA-03, thinking about the relatively high number of state legislative primaries in Polk County. Which brings us to
Question 8: What percentage of the vote will Nate Boulton and Pam Dearden Conner receive in the Democratic primary to represent the open Iowa Senate district 16?
Result: Boulton 52.8 percent, Conner 47.1 percent
Several people who live in the district told me last weekend they had no idea who would win this hard-fought primary. Bleeding Heartland users were split almost evenly in picking either Boulton or Conner to win. The winner on this question was iowadem, who foresaw Boulton winning by a 53-47 margin. JoshHughesIA and southiowamoderate tied for second, guessing Boulton 52, Conner 48.
Question 9: What percentage of the vote will State Representative Jo Oldson and Eddie Mauro receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa House district 41?
Result: Oldson 67.1 percent, Mauro 32.9 percent
Both sides worked this race hard. Among my acquaintances in this district, those who supported Oldson seemed less worried as the primary drew near, but still expected the race to be close.
Most Bleeding Heartland users correctly predicted Oldson would be renominated, but only a handful foresaw the blowout: prairiefire guessed the incumbent would win 66 percent, pretzelgraf 72 percent, NebIowaDem 62 percent.
Question 10: What percentage of the vote will State Representative Dan Kelley and Wesley Breckenridge receive in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa House district 29?
Result: Breckenridge 65.3 percent, Kelley 34.6 percent
This was an unusual race, in that many local leaders and two major labor organizations supported Breckenridge against a Democratic incumbent. Most Bleeding Heartland users saw the writing on the wall for Kelley but expected Breckenridge to win by 5-15 points. Only pretzelgraf saw Breckenridge picking up more than 60 percent of the vote, 62 percent to be precise. In second place on this question: southiowamoderate and aaroncampil, who both predicted the challenger would win 57 percent.
Question 11: What percentage of the vote will State Representative Kevin Koester and perennial candidate Brett Nelson receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa House district 38?
Result: Koester 86.7 percent, Nelson 13.1 percent
What compels a candidate to run for the Iowa legislature an eighth time after losing the first seven races by wide margins? Everyone in our contest predicted a big win for Koester, with southiowamoderate closest to the mark: Koester 87 percent, Nelson 13 percent. I had Koester at 86 percent, and prairiefire guessed the incumbent would win 88 percent.
Question 12: What percentage of the vote will State Representative Jake Highfill and Christian DenOuden receive in the Republican primary to represent Iowa House district 39?
Result: Highfill 58.5 percent, DenOuden 41.5 percent
Question 13: In two open Iowa House seats, two candidates are seeking the nomination in each party. Who will face off in the general election to represent House district 77? The Democrats running are Amy Nielsen and Abbie Weipert. The Republicans running are Paula Dreeszen and Royce Phillips.
Result: Nielsen vs. Phillips
Only JoshHughesIA called this one correctly.
Question 14: Who will face off in the general election to represent House district 55? The Democrats running are Steve McCargar and Pat Ritter. The Republicans running are Michael Bergan and Alex Popenhagen.
Result: Ritter vs. Bergan
Both JoshHughesIA and I predicted this one.
Question 15: Nine Iowa House members (four Democrats and five Republicans) are facing primary challengers. How many of these incumbents will lose their own party’s nomination?
Correct answer: one (Dan Kelley)
It’s hard to beat an Iowa legislative incumbent in a primary.
The following people got this one right: realist, ModerateIADem, aaroncampil, rockm, southiowamoderate, and me.
When I tallied the results, three contestants stood out:
iowadem had the best guess on three questions, placed third on another, and foresaw higher Democratic turnout in IA-01 than IA-03.
southiowamoderate had the best guess on two questions, was runner up on three questions, was in third place on one question, and correctly predicted only one Iowa House incumbent would lose.
JoshHughesIA was the only person to call the general election matchup in House district 77 and one of two people to do the same for House district 55. He also had the best guess on another question, was runner up on two more, was third on another, and predicted higher Democratic turnout in IA-01.
Josh Hughes is not only the youngest current school board member in Iowa, he is also the winner of this election prediction contest.