Recounts finished in Iowa House and Senate races

Democratic candidate Susan Judkins halted the recount and conceded defeat in Iowa House district 43 today: “Questions about whether all absentee ballots were counted have been satisfactorily answered and I believe my narrow loss would likely stand even if all ballots were considered.” After the official canvass, Republican incumbent Chris Hagenow led by 22 votes out of nearly 17,500 cast.

A recount of the open-seat race in Iowa House district 63 concluded yesterday. Republican Sandy Salmon defeated Democrat Bill Heckroth by a little more than 100 votes out of nearly 16,500 cast.

And in a final disappointment for Iowa Democrats, Republican Mike Breitbach held onto a narrow lead over John Beard after a recount in the open Senate district 28. I’ve heard conflicting reports about the final margin, which is probably either 17 or 22 votes out of nearly 30,000 cast.

Both parties have won some close statehouse races in Iowa over the years, but this year Democrats lost most of the heartbreakers.

Republicans have a 53 to 46 Iowa House majority, with a special election in House district 52 coming up soon. Democrats have a 26 to 23 Iowa Senate majority, with a special election in Senate district 22 set for December 11.

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Iowa Senate ad watch: I-JOBS lies edition (updated)

The I-JOBS infrastructure bonding initiative helped fund more than 1,600 infrastructure projects around Iowa during the “Great Recession.” From the beginning, Republicans have used misleading rhetoric to make their case against I-JOBS. Terry Branstad and GOP lawmakers exaggerated the initiative’s costs and understated its benefits repeatedly during the 2010 campaign.

Now some Iowa Senate candidates are putting lies about I-JOBS at the center of their radio advertising.

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Bill Heckroth announces candidacy in Iowa House district 63

Former State Senator Bill Heckroth announced today that he will run as a Democrat in Iowa House district 63 next year. Heckroth owns a financial planning business in Waverly, the largest town in the district. To my knowledge, Heckroth does not have a campaign website up yet. I’ve posted the Iowa House Democrats’ press release after the jump, along with a district map.

The new district 63 includes all of Bremer County and parts of northern Black Hawk County, outside the Waterloo and Cedar Falls city limits. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, but independents have a plurality. As of April 2011, the district contained 5,225 registered Democrats, 6,395 registered Republicans and 9,128 no-party voters.

Aside from a few Black Hawk County precincts, the entire territory in the new House district 63 was part of the old Iowa Senate district 9, which Heckroth represented from 2007 through 2010. Here’s a map of that district. Over the past two decades, Heckroth has been involved with a wide variety of community organizations in Waverly; his press release lists them below. In his successful 2006 race, Heckroth outpolled Republican Tom Hoogestraat in both the Bremer and Black Hawk portions of the district. Heckroth lost his 2010 re-election bid to Bill Dix, who also had a strong base in Waverly, but even then Heckroth outperformed Governor Chet Culver in Bremer.

No current state representative lives in the new district 63. As far as I know, no Republican has announced plans to run in this district. Three-term House member Pat Grassley represents part of Bremer County; he could move to this district as a way to resolve being paired with fellow Republican Annette Sweeney in the new House district 50. However, that scenario seems unlikely. House district 50 has a much larger GOP voter registration advantage than district 63. Also, Sweeney voted against the redistricting plan while Grassley voted for it, suggesting that he will be able to stay put.

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