Iowa Senate district 13 special: Julian Garrett vs. Mark Davitt

Iowa House Republican Julian Garrett will face former Iowa House Democrat Mark Davitt in the November 19 special election to represent Iowa Senate district 13. The district covers Madison County and most of Warren County. State Senator Kent Sorenson resigned earlier this month, forcing a special election to fill the vacant seat. The winner will be up for re-election in 2014.

Senate district 13 is a must-hold for the GOP if they want to win a Senate majority in 2014. For that reason, many state party leaders and several Iowa Senate Republicans attended the nominating convention on October 17. Garrett went into the convention as the only announced candidate and easily won the nomination on the first ballot. Kevin Hall liveblogged the event for The Iowa Republican. I expected at least one far-right Republican to compete for the nomination, but I was surprised to learn that delegates nominated three alternatives to Garrett. Unsuccessful 2012 Iowa House candidate Steve McCoy was an obvious choice, but I wouldn’t have guessed that Republican National Committeewoman Tamara Scott would run for the Iowa Senate. I’d never heard of the third candidate, David Keagle, and I couldn’t find much information about him, other than his past donation to former Iowa House Republican Glen Massie.

Democratic delegates nominated Davitt at a special Senate district 13 convention last night. This race will be an uphill climb; as of October 1, the district contained 13,293 registered Democrats, 15,013 Republicans, and 15,909 no-party voters. That said, upsets can happen in a low-turnout environment. McCoy spoke harshly of the GOP establishment during the nominating convention. If from tea party Republicans stay home on November 19, hoping to nominate one of their own in the primary next June, strong GOTV could win it for Davitt.  

After the jump I’ve posted Garrett’s official bio, a Senate Democrats press release containing background on Davitt, and a map of Senate district 13. Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

Continue Reading...

Medicaid abortion funding ban a bridge too far for Branstad administration

Opposing all government funding for abortion is settled dogma among Iowa Republican activists and elected officials. For two years in a row, Senate Democrats have blocked attempts to write new restrictions on Medicaid abortion coverage into the budget for the state Department of Human Services. Now DHS Director Chuck Palmer has signaled that taking control of the upper chamber may not give Republicans the power to restrict the choices of low-income women.

Palmer’s action puts Governor Terry Branstad in an awkward position, and a legislature completely under GOP control could create a political nightmare for Branstad, a proud “pro-lifer” throughout his career.

Continue Reading...

First look at Democratic prospects for Iowa House gains

The redistricting process and several Republican retirements have created many pickup opportunities for Iowa House Democrats. The devastating 2010 election left them nowhere to go but up in the lower chamber, where Republicans currently enjoy a 60 to 40 majority. Relatively few sitting House Democrats represent vulnerable districts.

Speaking to activists at the Polk County Democratic convention on March 10, I heard lots of optimism about the House races. After the jump I’ve posted some early thoughts on the seats up for grabs.

Continue Reading...

Who's who in the Iowa House for 2012

Although the 60 Republicans and 40 Democrats in the Iowa House haven’t changed since last year, I thought it was worth updating this post, because some committee assignments have changed, and House Democrats reshuffled their ranking members somewhat.

Majority and minority leadership teams are after the jump, along with all members of standing House committees. All 100 House districts are on the ballot every two years, so I’ve noted the new district numbers for state representatives seeking re-election in 2012, as well as which House members have said they will retire after this year’s legislative session.

Continue Reading...

Iowa caucus poll and endorsement news roundup

Six days before the Iowa caucuses, no Republican candidate has a clear lead, social conservatives remain scattered among several contenders, and new television commercials are launched on almost a daily basis. Numbers from the two latest opinion polls and news from the campaign trail are after the jump, along with some commercials currently showing on Iowa tv screens.

UPDATE: Added numbers from a new CNN poll and the latest Ron Paul tv ad.

Continue Reading...
View More...