Dems contesting far more Iowa House, Senate seats than in 2010 or 2014

Democrats are fielding a nearly full slate of Iowa House and Senate candidates this year, leaving far fewer GOP-held seats unchallenged than in the last two midterm elections.

The improvement is particularly noticeable in the Iowa House, where Republicans have an unusually large number of open seats to defend. Twelve of the 59 GOP state representatives are retiring, and a thirteenth seat (House district 43) is open due to Majority Leader Chris Hagenow’s move to safer Republican territory in Dallas County.

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Iowa primary election results thread

Polls closed at 9 pm across Iowa. Any comments about today’s primary elections are welcome in this thread. Anecdotally, I heard reports of low turnout from various parts of the state all day long. I will be updating this post throughout the evening. For statewide results, check the Iowa Secretary of State’s results page. The Polk County Elections Office is posting results here.

Follow me after the jump for updates. The Des Moines Register posted the video of Patty Judge’s victory speech, because our local CBS affiliate cut away from it, and the NBC and ABC affiliates had ended their election coverage before then.

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Brian Meyer to face Michael Young in Iowa House district 33 special

Democrat Brian Meyer and Republican Michael Young were both unanimously chosen as candidates for the October 22 special election in Iowa House district 33 during nominating conventions on September 4. Background on Des Moines City Council member Meyer is after the jump; he became the consensus candidate in this heavily Democratic district two weeks ago, preventing a potentially messy nominating process.

Young is a Marine Corps veteran who has lived on the south side of Des Moines for most of his life. He serves on the city’s Access Advisory Board, dealing with implementation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

It would be a monumental upset for Meyer to lose this election. Not only do Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 5,000 in House district 33, south side voters have elected Meyer to the Des Moines City Council twice. Democrats would be wise to take nothing for granted in a low-turnout special, though.

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Brian Meyer only Democrat competing for Iowa House district 33

Following up on yesterday’s news, Des Moines City Council member Brian Meyer will be unchallenged for the Democratic nomination in Iowa House district 33, where a special election is set for October 22. The two Democrats who had announced campaigns, Karl Schilling and Joe Henry, both endorsed Meyer yesterday. Felix Gallagher confirmed by telephone today that he had considered running for the House seat but decided against the race. By the way, I forgot to mention that Gallagher was the treasurer for Desmund Adams’ campaign in Iowa Senate district 22 last year.

Meyer’s press release spoke of entering the race “in the hopes of unifying the party and continuing the good work of former Representative [Kevin] McCarthy.” I don’t see any urgency to unify the party in a district Republicans have no realistic hope of winning. The latest Civic Skinny column in the Des Moines weekly Cityview suggests another reason for Meyer to get into the race:

Word is that Marshalltown’s Mark Smith, who bested Des Moines’ Rick Olson, 24-20, in the caucus vote to succeed Kevin McCarthy as head of the Democrats in the Iowa House, has let go McCarthy’s key aide, Des Moines City Councilman Brian Meyer. The move has surprised – and upset – some Democrats. …

In all likelihood the Iowa House seat will be Meyer’s for as long as he wants it. That would force a special election to replace Meyer as the Des Moines City Council member representing Ward 4. Bleeding Heartland user Columcille raises the interesting possibility of Chris Diebel running for that seat, instead of challenging incumbent Skip Moore for the at-large council seat. UPDATE: A Bleeding Heartland reader alerted me to a big problem with that scenario: Diebel lives in Ward 3, not Ward 4 (city council map here).  

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Iowa House district 33 special election update

Three candidates are competing for the Democratic nomination in Iowa House district 33, which Kevin McCarthy has vacated to take a position in the Attorney General’s Office. Because this district contains 8,142 registered Democrats, 3,334 Republicans, and 5,273 no-party voters, the Democratic nominee is almost guaranteed to win the October 22 special election.

After the jump I’ve posted background on Karl Schilling, Joe Henry, and Felix Gallagher, who are seeking to replace McCarthy, plus details on how the Democratic nominating convention will be conducted on September 4. Regardless of who wins the nomination, I hope all three candidates will compete in next year’s Democratic primary. On principle, I don’t believe ten people on a party central committee should decide who represents 30,000 people in the Iowa House.

I also enclose below a map of House district 33, which covers parts of south and southeast Des Moines.

UPDATE: On August 20 Schilling and Henry dropped out of the race after Des Moines City Council member Brian Meyer announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination for House district 33. Meyer will be the heavy favorite going into the September 4 convention, even if Gallagher stays in the race. I’ve enclosed Meyer’s press release at the end of this post.

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Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy resigning (updated)

Shocking news: Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is resigning from the state legislature to take an unspecified position in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. I’ve posted his announcement after the jump. McCarthy served as House Majority Leader when Democrats controlled the lower chamber from 2007 through 2010 and was elected minority leader soon after the 2010 elections. I thought he would stay in the legislature for the long haul. He original ran for the House in 2000 but relocated from Beaverdale to the south side after losing the Democratic primary to Janet Petersen.

His decision means a special election will come later this year in House district 33, covering parts of south and southeast Des Moines. It’s a safe Democratic seat with nearly 5,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, so the special nominating convention will in effect decide McCarthy’s replacement. UPDATE: Less than an hour after McCarthy’s announcement, the Iowa House Democrats sent out a press release on Karl Schilling’s candidacy for the House district 33 special election. I’ve posted that after the jump.

The 46 remaining House Democrats will also need to elect a new minority leader.  The obvious candidates are the current assistant minority leaders: Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines, Mary Mascher of Iowa City, Mark Smith of Marshalltown, and Mary Gaskill of Ottumwa. My guess is that Smith will certainly seek the position. No idea who might challenge him. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Jo Oldson of Des Moines ran against McCarthy for minority leader in 2010.

UPDATE: Oldson’s name was not placed into nomination in 2010.

The rumor mill says that State Representatives Mark Smith and Dave Jacoby are both sounding out colleagues about the leadership post.

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