# Austin Baeth



Ten Iowa Democratic legislative primaries to watch in 2022

UPDATE: I’ve added unofficial results for each race.

Iowa Democrats have more competitive state legislative primaries in 2022 than in a typical election cycle. That’s partly because quite a few House and Senate members are retiring, and partly because the redistricting plan adopted in 2021 created some legislative districts with no incumbents.

In most of the races discussed below, the winner of the primary is very likely to prevail in November. However, a few of the districts could be targeted by one or both parties in the general election.

All data on past election performance in these districts comes from the Iowa House and Senate maps Josh Hughes created in Dave’s Redistricting App. Fundraising numbers are taken from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s database.

This post is not an exhaustive account of all contested Democratic primaries for state legislative offices. You can find the full primary candidate list here.

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Austin Baeth for Iowa House district 36

Gary Dickey: Austin Baeth is uniquely positioned to diagnose our state’s problems and build consensus to provide solutions. 

It is a cliché in politics to exclaim that “this election is the most important in our lifetime.” The reality is that every election is the most important until the next. 

But it is hard to remember a time in which the most basic notions of what it means to be an Iowan have hung so precariously in the balance. 

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Iowa House Democrats head for the exits

UPDATE: Charlie McConkey became the sixteenth House Democrat to confirm he won’t seek another term. Original post follows.

Nearly 40 percent of the Democrats who now serve in the Iowa House have confirmed they won’t seek re-election this year, and several long-serving incumbents have yet to clarify their plans.

The exodus involves not only lawmakers of retirement age, like State Representatives Marti Anderson and Bruce Hunter, but also some who have decades left in their working lives, like State Representatives Ras Smith, Chris Hall, and Kirsten Running-Marquardt, the latest to announce she won’t continue serving in the legislature.

The unusually high turnover may reflect some pent-up demand; older lawmakers who might have retired a few years ago hung on in light of realistic hope that their party could regain control of the chamber in the 2018 or 2020 elections. That prospect seems remote now, with Republicans enjoying a 60-40 majority and the new political map creating fewer than ten strong pickup opportunities for House Democrats.

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Another Democrat retiring in deep blue Iowa House district

State Representative Jo Oldson will not seek re-election in 2022, she informed constituents in an email newsletter on December 9. “With re-apportionment now settled,” she wrote, “I believe it’s the right time for me to step aside and provide an opportunity for new leaders to step forward. While this decision wasn’t easy for me, it’s time to retire and enjoy more time with my husband Brice and our family.”

First elected to the Iowa House in 2002, Oldson served as minority whip in 2019 and 2020 and was the ranking member of the Commerce Committee during this year’s legislative session.

Her decision opens up a third strongly Democratic Iowa House district in Des Moines.

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An open letter to the Des Moines School Board

Dave O’Connor teaches at Merrill Middle School in Des Moines. -promoted by Laura Belin

On October 14, the president of the United States held a superspreader event at the Des Moines Airport for 6,000 mostly un-masked, non-socially distanced supporters. Governor Kim Reynolds was right at his side. He did it on the same day that our neighbors in Wisconsin, who are now at the epicenter of the pandemic, opened a field hospital with 500 beds to try to relieve pressure on their overtaxed hospital system, and only eight days after hospitalizations for COVID-19 reached an all-time high in Iowa–a record that has been surpassed multiple times since.

And just for good measure, the rally directly violated the governor’s own emergency proclamations, which require organizers of mass gatherings to “ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual attending alone.”

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