A few thoughts on turnout in the Congressional primaries

I have not seen estimates for the percentages of registered voters in each party who turned out today, but I have a few thoughts on turnout based on the election results.

The campaigns of Congressman Leonard Boswell and Ed Fallon mobilized a lot of voters in the third district. Boswell received just over 20,000 votes, and Fallon received about 13,000. Turnout of 33,000 in this district is not bad at all for a Congressional primary. By way of comparison, 38,000 Democrats in the third district cast votes in the 2006 gubernatorial primary.

In the fourth district Congressional primary, turnout was much lower. It looks like fewer than 18,000 people cast votes on the Democratic side. Becky Greenwald is headed to victory with about 51 percent of the vote, which is impressive in a four-way race. But she has a lot of work ahead of her, because it does not appear that fourth district Democrats were highly energized about choosing an opponent for Tom Latham.

Naturally, it is easier to mobilize voters in the third district, which has only 12 counties and most of the residents concentrated in Polk County. Also, one would expect six-term Congressman Boswell and former state representative and gubernatorial candidate Fallon to have an easier time turning out voters, because of past campaigns they have run.

The fourth Congressional district spans 28 counties over a huge geographical area. In addition, none of the Democratic candidates running against Latham had held elective office before. They didn’t start their campaigns with large numbers of people having already voted for them at least once, the way Boswell and Fallon did.

I am not trying to take away from Greenwald’s achievement. I only want to point out that Democrats will need to engage many more fourth district voters if we are to have any chance of unseating Latham.

By the way, in the second district, Republican turnout in the three-way race to challenge Congressman Dave Loebsack was just under 17,000 votes. I do not expect Mariannette Miller-Meeks to mount a strong challenge to Loebsack.

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Election results open thread

The big news of the day is that Barack Obama has picked up enough superdelegates, along with delegates pledged to John Edwards, to clinch the presidential nomination.

I’ve been trying to tell people at Daily Kos for months that the superdelegates would bring down the curtain after all the states had voted.

I think the extended primary season was on balance excellent for the Democratic Party, and I couldn’t disagree more with those who have been badgering Hillary Clinton to drop out for the past two or three months.

Early returns from South Dakota indicate that Hillary will win that primary, by the way.

Polls close soon in Iowa, and I will update this diary when I have some results to report.

UPDATE: With 46 percent of precincts reporting Boswell leads Fallon 56 percent to 44 percent. Not clear whether absentee ballots have already been counted. I would expect Boswell to have an edge there. Also not clear whether the big Des Moines precincts have reported.

UPDATE 2: Not looking good for Fallon–Boswell leads 57-43 with 60 percent of precincts reporting.

The GOP Senate candidates are bunched closely together with 25 percent of precincts reporting.

Still only 4 percent of precincts reporting in IA-04. Greenwald leads, but it’s way too early.

Peter Teahen is ahead in the GOP primary in IA-02 wih 30 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 3: The Des Moines Register has called the IA-03 primary for Boswell. He leads 60-40 with 90 percent of precincts reporting.

Becky Greenwald has a huge lead in IA-04, with 52.6 percent of the vote after 59 percent of precincts reported. Kurt Meyer is in second place with 26.6 percent; William Meyers has 12.1 percent, and Kevin Miskell has 8.7 percent.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks has a small lead over Peter Teahen, 44.3 percent to 42.3 percent with 82 percent of precincts reporting.

The GOP Senate race is very close with 79 percent of precincts reporting: Christopher Reed has 35.4 percent, George Eichhorn has 34.9 percent.

UPDATE 4: There may need to be a recount in IA-02. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Miller-Meeks leads Teahen by fewer than 100 votes, 43.5 percent to 43.0 percent.

The GOP Senate primary is also a squeaker, with fewer than 200 votes separating reed and Eichhorn.

Boswell leads Fallon 61-29 with 98 percent reporting.

Greenwald leads Meyer 51-27 with 84 percent reporting.

All the Democratic House incumbents who had primary challengers held on to their seats.

Jerry Sullivan won the primary in House district 59 with 78 percent of the vote despite the robocalls against him that I wrote about last night.

FINAL UPDATE: It looks like Obama won the Montana primary and Clinton won the South Dakota primary.

I didn’t see Obama’s speech to a huge crowd in the Twin Cities, but I am amused that John McCain stupidly scheduled a speech for this evening. His speech got cut off so the tv networks could devote coverage to the big story (Obama winning the nomination) and Obama’s big speech (which was apparently great).

In IA-03, Boswell beat Fallon by 61-39 percent with all the precincts in. That is comparable to Representative Jane Harman’s victory over Marcy Winograd in a California Congressional district two years ago. Harman’s voting record reportedly improved after that primary. Let’s hope we can expect the same from Boswell.

Final results from the IA-04 primary: Greenwald 50.7 percent, Meyer 27.6 percent, Meyers 13.2 percent, Miskell 8.4 percent.

Christopher Reed won the GOP Senate primary by about 400 votes out of about 70,000 votes cast. He had 35.3 percent of the vote, George Eichhorn had 34.7 percent, and Steve Rathje had 29.9 percent.

IA-02 race called for Miller-Meeks. She won by a margin of 109 votes out of nearly 17,000 votes cast.

Nothing on the Des Moines Register’s site about recounts in the GOP Senate primary or Congressional primary in IA-02.

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Primary predictions open thread

OK, political junkies, show us your stuff. Who will win the high-profile primaries in Iowa today?

By that I mean, who will win the Democratic primaries in Iowa’s third and fourth Congressional districts?

Who will win the Republican primary in Iowa’s second Congressional district? (Iowa Independent and the Des Moines Register have profiled the three candidates seeking to take on Congressman Dave Loebsack.)

UPDATE: I forgot that you can also predict which of these three Republicans will become the chump who’ll be lucky to get 40 percent of the vote against Tom Harkin this November.

I will update this post later with my own predictions for the Congressional races.

John Deeth has an outstanding post up going over some of the key primaries in the Iowa House and Senate races. I don’t know enough about those races to make my own predictions, but I encourage you to mention them in your comments if you want to test your prognosticating skills against Deeth’s.

SECOND UPDATE: Finally ready to post my predictions.

Although the GOP establishment seems to be behind Eichhorn for Senate, I’m guessing that Steve Rathje will win that primary. I give him zero chance against Harkin.

In IA-02, I think Mariannette Miller-Meeks will win. I doubt she will give Loebsack much trouble, and I’ll explain why another day.

In IA-04, I think Becky Greenwald will win with at least 35 percent, enough to avoid having to pick the nominee at a district convention. I say this because she’s raised a lot of money, she has the best connections in the southern part of the district, and it doesn’t hurt to be one woman running against three men in a Democratic primary.

In IA-03, I think Boswell will win but by less than 10 points. To be more specific, I’ll go with 54-46 as my guess.

Mike Lux also thinks Boswell will win but warns that his “over-reaction” will make it closer than it should have been:

Boswell’s over-the-top negative campaign against Ed has caused a serious negative reaction, and has got everyone talking. I talked to at least half a dozen people who said they were planning to vote for Leonard, but have switched to Ed because of the mailings, and even Boswell’s supporters have been made nervous and set on edge by the mailings.

I have not seen the Fallon campaign’s internal numbers, and I do not know enough about the process that generated them. My impression is that they did some kind of random selection of voters from the database and then had people call to check their preferences (correct me if I am wrong). My worry is that a lot of polite Iowans may have lied about their intentions when called by someone from the Fallon campaign.

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Vilsaks & Register Endorse Appalling Behavior

(As I've said, I am promoting all diaries by Democratic candidates in Iowa to the front page of Bleeding Heartland. It's unfortunate that William Meyers feels the process has been unfair. I strongly urge him (and all Democrats running for any office) to support the winner of tomorrow's primary. - promoted by desmoinesdem)


Six months ago I made my first official contact with each and every Democratic County Chair, introducing myself, and my candidacy for the United States House of Representatives.  Six months later, Chairpersons in key counties still deny me access to their Democrats.  I have asked multiple times, and even done so in my email newsletters, viewed by thousands of Democrats in the fourth district.  Additionally,  my email news program allows me to track who opens the emails, the date and time they opened them, links they may have clicked on, and who they may have forwarded the emails to.


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EENR Blog Endorses Kevin Miskell for IA-04

Desmoinesdem has been posting some links from the EENR Blog.

 A brief history: EENR initially stood for Edwards Evening News Roundup. Edwards supporters posted nightly diaries about John's campaign and what he stood for on the Daily Kos from April 4, 2007-Feb 1, 2008. When the campaign suspended and most of the other progressive blogs focused on the horse race, some JRE supporters decided to start our own blog to discuss issues facing all of us, and not just be a support group blog for disenfranchised JRE supporters.  The EENR editorial team believes that along with the issues, they (we) should advocate for more and better downticket candidates that support a more bold, progressive agenda on Capitol Hill and in some instances, state races.  That is why EENR endorsed Ed Fallon.

Tonight EENR proudly endorses Kevin Miskell, IA-04 who is a true John Edwards Democrat.  Here's why.

Miskell is a fifth generation Iowa farmer from Story County, Iowa.   See One Carolina Girl's video of Miskell from last year:


 EENR invited Miskell to come by last week and talk about the issues the community was interested in, which included international issues besides the war in Iraq that blogs and the M$M don't pay as much attention to; some would have been curve balls for many candidates.  EENR discovered Miskell has been following human rights and other international issues as its bloggers have.   That's rare.

  More below the fold….(text courtesy of Sarah Lane and also from Kevin Miskell's diary last week)  

Disclosure: I am on the EENR editorial team.




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