Woeful results from Bleeding Heartland's 2018 Iowa primary prediction contest

The results are in for our Iowa primary election prediction contest. Since the first time we played this kind of game in 2008, the Bleeding Heartland community has never done so poorly trying to guess how Iowans would vote.

The errors began when I forgot to include a question about the Republican primary in the fourth Congressional district. Cyndi Hanson raised little money and has rarely been in the news since her unsuccessful challenge to Steve King’s nominating papers. She received about 25 percent of the vote, which surprised me. State Senator Rick Bertrand ran a much more active campaign against King in 2016 and only received about 35 percent in the GOP primary.

On to the results from the ten questions that were part of this year’s contest. You can view all the entries in this comment thread.

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Enter Bleeding Heartland's 2018 Iowa primary election prediction contest

Has Iowa ever had a primary season more eventful than this year’s? It’s time for politics-watchers to take a stab at predicting the results of next Tuesday’s elections.

No cash or other prizes are at stake, just bragging rights in the Bleeding Heartland community. No doubt 2016 primary election contest winner Josh Hughes will want to defend his title. Perhaps ModerateIADem, winner of the 2010 and 2012 primary election contests, will try for a comeback.

Anyone can enter, whether you now live or have ever lived in Iowa. Just post a comment in this thread with your answers to the following ten questions sometime before 7 am central time on Tuesday, June 5.

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Diversity lacking on Iowa Democrats' new governing body

Both major parties held district conventions on April 28. One encouraging sign from the Iowa Democratic Party’s proceedings: activists are much more energized this year than usual. Every delegate slot was filled in all four Congressional districts. Quite a few alternates (including myself) did not receive credentials. According to former State Senator Jack Hatch, it was only the second time in 40 years that an IA-03 district convention “packed a full slate of delegates.” State party chair Troy Price observed in a Facebook post, “Typically, in a non-Presidential year it is a struggle to reach quorum, and this year we had more people than spots available.”

All of the district convention delegates elected at county conventions in March are automatically delegates for the state conventions in June. So the main order of business yesterday was choosing members of each party’s State Central Committee.

Both Democrats and Republicans will have lots of new faces on their governing bodies. But Democrats mostly missed an opportunity to elect leaders who reflect the diversity of the party’s base.

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IA-02: Loebsack in the driver's seat

The main campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans spent more than $1 million in 2014 trying to unseat Representative Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s second district. But national Republicans left the last Democrat representing our state in Congress alone during the 2016 campaign, and Loebsack is unlikely to be targeted this year either.

Fundraising by the candidates becomes more important when outside groups don’t get involved in a House race. For that reason, the latest batch of Federal Election Commission quarterly reports were especially encouraging for Loebsack.

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Iowa candidates on notice: Signature requirements are real

A state panel disqualified two prominent Republican candidates yesterday due to insufficient valid signatures on their nominating petitions. A leading Democratic contender for Congress would have suffered the same fate, had a party committee not bailed her out using a questionable legal loophole.

All of the candidates had been actively campaigning for months. Yet they failed to ensure that they could meet a straightforward, longstanding requirement to qualify for the ballot. Nothing like this should happen to another serious contender for public office in Iowa.

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Social conservative Ginny Caligiuri launches IA-02 bid

Describing herself as a “pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-Israel, and pro-Constitution conservative,” Ginny Caligiuri made her quest for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s second Congressional district official today. Her candidacy was no secret; the former state director for the Congressional Prayer Caucus, National Governor’s Prayer Team, and US National Prayer Council had nominating papers out to be signed at the February 5 precinct caucuses and has been making the rounds at GOP county central committee meetings.

Bleeding Heartland profiled Caligiuri in January. You can keep up with her campaign online at GinnyGetsIowa.com, Facebook, or Twitter (at this writing, a protected account).

The announcement for Caligiuri’s kickoff event in Osceola on March 8 noted, “The 2nd District elected Donald Trump, and Ginny plans to help him accomplish what he was elected to do.” That line struck me as a subtle dig at Caligiuri’s competition in the GOP primary. Dr. Christopher Peters is a libertarian-minded Republican; as the IA-02 nominee, he announced in October 2016 that he would not vote for Trump.

I enclose below Caligiuri’s official bio and a map of Iowa’s Congressional districts. According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State’s office, the 24 counties contain 160,891 active registered Democrats, 141,798 Republicans, an 181,740 no-party voters.

The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both rate this race as a likely Democratic hold for six-term Representative Dave Loebsack. For reasons discussed here, I think Republicans missed their best chance to defeat Loebsack by not targeting his district during the 2016 cycle. Trump carried the 24 counties in IA-02 by 49.1 percent to 45.0 percent, a huge swing from Barack Obama’s 55.8 percent to 42.7 percent margin over Mitt Romney in 2012.

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