# SD 5

Tom Shaw retiring from Iowa House, rules out running in Senate district 5

Republican State Representative Tom Shaw announced on Facebook last night that he will not seek re-election in Iowa House district 10. Defending his “no compromise” approach to serving in the legislature since his first election in 2010, Shaw quoted a retired California legislator as saying, “When we give in to liberals, even an inch, we’re not compromising; we’re abdicating our rights and our honor.” Shaw and his close allies, State Representatives Kim Pearson and Glen Massie, were perhaps best known for helping to block in committee and later voting against a 20-week abortion ban bill, on the grounds that it did not go far enough to end abortions. Pearson and Massie both retired from the Iowa House rather than seek re-election in 2012. Last year, Shaw could persuade only ten of his Republican colleagues to co-sponsor his more extreme version of a “personhood” bill declaring life to start at conception.

Iowa House district 10 covers Humboldt, Pocahontas, and Calhoun counties, plus portions of Webster County (but not Fort Dodge). I’ve posted a map after the jump. It leans strongly Republican, with nearly 3,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats as of January 2014.  

Shaw confirmed by telephone this morning that he is retiring from the state legislature and will not consider running against Democratic State Senator Daryl Beall in Iowa Senate district 5. Shaw’s retirement may be good news for Beall, as the open Iowa House seat comprising half the district should draw more Republican interest than taking on a three-term incumbent in a much more competitive Senate district. Beall currently has one declared challenger, Fort Dodge-based financial adviser Tim Kraayenbrink.

UPDATE: The first candidate to declare for Shaw’s seat was Mike Sexton, who was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1998 but retired after one term. I’ve posted background after the jump. I would guess that an experienced candidate and former legislator would have been a tougher challenger to Beall than Kraayenbrink. But not surprisingly, Sexton sees the open House seat as an easier path back to the statehouse. I would guess that at least one tea party oriented candidate will compete against Sexton in the House district 10 primary.

Continue Reading...

Mike Gronstal sees eight competitive Iowa Senate races

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal is “fairly confident” going into this year’s state legislative elections, he told Mike Glover in a recent interview. He cited a “pretty good message” to take to voters as well as a “a slight advantage on the map” that will allow Democrats to play “a little less defense and a little more offense,” compared to 2012.

I agree with Gronstal that Democrats are better positioned now to hold their 26 to 24 majority in the upper chamber than they were at the same point two years ago. Follow me after the jump for a quick look at the eight districts the Senate majority leader expects to be targeted this fall.

Continue Reading...

Five Iowa Senate races to watch in 2014

It’s the time of year for blog posts about notable candidates and upcoming elections. Every politically engaged Iowan knows already that 2014 will be an unusually exciting year. We haven’t seen an open U.S. Senate race since 1974. The last time Iowa’s first Congressional district was open was in 2006. The last time Iowa’s third Congressional district was open was in 2002, but it wasn’t a wide open seat, since incumbent Representative Leonard Boswell moved into Polk County to run. Amazingly, 1940 was the “last time there was a Congressional race in Polk County without an incumbent seeking re-election.” All of Iowa’s statewide elected officials are up for re-election as well this year, and the secretary of state’s position may become open if Matt Schultz decides to go for the Republican nomination in IA-03.

Since Bleeding Heartland readers already know about the big Iowa races to watch, I want to focus today and tomorrow on the elections that are likely to determine control of the Iowa House and Senate in 2015 and 2016.  

Continue Reading...

Iowa Senate district 5 preview: Daryl Beall vs. Tim Kraayenbrink

In order to win an Iowa Senate majority, Republicans need to defeat at least one Democratic incumbent next November. One of the likely targets, three-term Senator Daryl Beall, got his first Republican challenger earlier this month in Iowa Senate district 5.

Follow me after the jump for my first take on Tim Kraayenbrink’s chances against Beall. I’ve enclosed a district map and the latest voter registration numbers, along with background on both candidates.

Continue Reading...

Analysis of the Obama-Romney vote in the Iowa Senate districts

The Daily Kos Elections team has been compiling 2012 presidential election results by state legislative district as well as by Congressional district. Yesterday the Iowa numbers were added to the database. You can view Google documents with raw vote totals and percentages for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney by Iowa Congressional district here, by Iowa Senate district here, and by Iowa House district here.

Looking closely at the presidential vote in the legislative districts provides some insight about where the competitive Iowa statehouse races might be next year. After the jump I’ve highlighted some key data points related to the Iowa Senate races. Later I will post a separate diary with first thoughts about the Iowa House districts.

Continue Reading...

Have Republicans written off Iowa Senate district 5?

Last week the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation endorsed 67 candidates it views as “Friends of Agriculture.” Only three Democrats, all incumbents, made this list: State Representative Geri Huser, State Senator Dennis Black, and State Senator Rich Olive. Huser is in the corporate-friendly “six-pack” of Iowa House Democrats, and her race in House district 42 isn’t expected to be competitive. Black isn’t a top Republican target either, and it’s not hard to see why the Farm Bureau would want to be on his good side. The four-term incumbent representing Senate district 41 chairs the Iowa Senate Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Farm Bureau’s support for Olive surprised me. On paper, this is one of the Republicans’ leading pickup opportunities in the Iowa Senate. Olive is a first-term incumbent in a conservative-leaning district. He won the open Senate district 5 by all of 62 votes in the Democratic wave election of 2006. Republican Stewart Iverson represented this turf in the Iowa Senate for many years, and as of August 2010, Senate district 5 has about three thousand more registered Republicans than Democrats, though no-party voters have a plurality. The district covers all of Wright and Hamilton Counties, part of Webster County and most of Story County outside Ames (map here).

I expected the Iowa GOP to put up a fight for this district, but if that were the case, I doubt interest groups that are mostly proxies for Republicans would give Olive their seal of approval. Last month the Association of Business and Industry’s PAC endorsed Olive as well. Perhaps conservative advocates don’t see Rob Bacon as a credible candidate in Senate district 5. Bacon has been AWOL on the fundraising front, bringing in zero dollars during the latest reporting period and only $1,250 in the previous one. As of July 19, Bacon had $3,476.94 cash on hand, while Olive had $40,107.28.

I lean toward John Deeth’s view; Republicans are giving Olive a “de facto bye” in the hope of gaining elsewhere. Democrats currently have a 32-18 Iowa Senate majority, and Republicans need to win back three or four districts this year to have a strong chance of taking the chamber in 2012.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

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...

Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor’s race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

Continue Reading...