A recount in Iowa House district 37 left Democratic incumbent Art Staed an agonizing 13 votes behind Republican challenger Renee Schulte. In many ways it’s worse to lose a close race than to get blown out, because you can’t help thinking about what might have happened if you’d just made a few more phone calls or knocked on a few more doors.
The result means that Democrats will hold 56 of the 100 seats in the Iowa House for the next two years (assuming no one switches parties).
That’s larger than the 53-47 edge Democrats had last session, but in this presidential year I had hoped for more Democratic gains in the statehouse.
Staed was a first-term incumbent and always among the top targets for Iowa Republicans. The corporate-backed Iowa Leadership Council and the American Future Fund were among conservative interest groups that ran television ads attacking Staed.
The difference between the Staed and Schulte was the smallest margin of victory in terms of raw votes for an Iowa legislative race this year. However, Jeff Danielson’s 22-vote victory in Senate district 10 was an even narrower margin in terms of the percentage of votes cast.
Can anyone remember a year with so many Iowa statehouse races decided by so few votes? Democratic incumbent Wes Whitead held on in House district 1 by only 60 votes, while Democrat Jerry Sullivan lost his bid for the open House district 59 by 93 votes. Democrat Kerry Burt beat Republican incumbent Tami Wiencek by fewer than 150 votes in House district 21.
UPDATE: I forgot that Democrat Dolores Mertz hung on to her seat in House district 8 by fewer than 50 votes as well.
VERY LATE UPDATE ON DECEMBER 22: Bleeding Heartland user rgiertz did some calculations:
Here are some final votes (according to Iowa SOS website) that I tabulated, some are a little different than your previous entry and there are a few that were close that were not mentioned.
District 1 Whithead (D) / Taylor (R) 55 votes (0.43%)
District 59 Sullivan (D) / Hagenow (R) 93 votes (0.54%)
District 21 Burt (D) / Wiencek (R) 219 votes (1.6%)
District 8 Mertz (D) / Richards (R) 43 votes (0.29%)
None of these were mentioned but I felt were worth noting (even though two did not result in Democrats’ victories, my apologies!)
District 37 Staed (D) / Schulte (R) 13 votes (0.07%)
District 74 Davitt (D) / Sorenson (R) 163 votes (0.93%)
District 89 Marek (D) / Klein (R) 157 votes (1.01%)