First take on the Iowa House and Senate results (updated)

Democrats suffered big losses in the Iowa House and Senate last night. Assuming no results change through recounts, the House is likely to switch from 56 Democrats and 44 Republicans to 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats. I’ve seen some online references to a 58-42 split, but that’s not how the count looks based on unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

Democrats maintain control of the Iowa Senate, but their majority shrank from 32-18 to 27-23. Governor-elect Terry Branstad should easily be able to get his agenda through the Iowa House, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal may have trouble keeping his caucus united.

UPDATE: Late returns could change the outcome in two Senate seats; it’s possible the chamber could have a 25-25 split, or a 26-24 Democratic majority.

SECOND UPDATE: A few more races could switch as more absentee ballots come in. As of Wednesday evening, Democrat Tom Schueller is now trailing in House district 25 by about 150 votes.

Here’s my take on the seats that changed hands and the near-misses.

Continue Reading...

The case of the missing Republican fundraising

Last week Democratic and Republican candidates for the Iowa legislature filed disclosure reports on their campaign contributions and expenditures. For most candidates, those reports covered the period from June 2 through July 14. For the few candidates who didn’t file reports on the Friday preceding the June primary, the July 19 reports covered campaign fundraising and expenses between May 15 and July 14.

John Deeth posted cash-on-hand totals for candidates in most of the Iowa House and Senate battleground districts. The numbers are encouraging for Democrats, because our candidates lead their opponents in cash on hand in most of the targeted districts.

As I read through the July 19 contribution reports, I noticed something strange. Republican candidates in various targeted Iowa House and Senate districts reported improbably low fundraising numbers. As a general rule, candidates strive for impressive fundraising to demonstrate their viability, and cash on hand in July indicates which candidate will have more resources during crunch time. However, I got the impression that several of the Republican Iowa House and Senate candidates made little effort to obtain campaign contributions during the latest reporting period. Follow me after the jump for some examples and possible explanations.  

Continue Reading...

Democrats looking more likely to hold Iowa House district 21

First-term Democratic State Representative Kerry Burt announced yesterday that he won’t run for re-election in Iowa House district 21, which comprises part of Waterloo and some rural areas in southern Black Hawk County (map here). The state Attorney General’s Office filed charges against a group of parents including Burt, who allegedly gave false addresses to avoid paying higher tuition fees for their children to attend the Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls. Burt said in a statement, “I look forward to my day in court.  I believe I am innocent and strongly believe my name will be vindicated once all of the relevant facts come to light. […] I am extremely grateful to the citizens of Waterloo for allowing me to serve and look forward to continuing my public service in the future.”

I wish Burt the best but won’t deny that I’m one of those relieved Democrats John Deeth mentioned here. I’ve been hoping for some time that Burt would not seek re-election, not only because of the tuition scandal but because of his drunk driving arrest in February 2009.

After the jump I cover the recent electoral history of House district 21 and reasons Democrats can feel optimistic about holding the seat.

Continue Reading...
View More...