# SD 9

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.

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Jason Schultz ready to move up to Iowa Senate district 9

The path appears clear for passionately conservative State Representative Jason Schultz to move up to Iowa Senate district 9 in next year’s election. Longtime State Senator Nancy Boettger announced Friday that she will retire. Although she’s one of the longest-serving Iowa Senate Republicans, she’s never played a particularly important role. The last three Senate minority leaders haven’t tapped Boettger for their leadership teams.

Boettger’s retirement creates a career advancement opportunity in the strongly Republican Senate district 9. The two obvious potential candidates are State Representatives Matt Windschitl and Jason Schultz, who represent both halves of the district in the Iowa House. Within hours, Schultz announced his Senate candidacy. Windschitl told The Iowa Republican blog over the weekend that he will stay in the Iowa House. Windschitl is one of the GOP’s rising stars and serves as an assistant House majority leader, but he’s drawn criticism from some “pro-life” activists as not strong enough on their issue. In contrast, Schultz co-sponsored the most extreme version of “personhood” legislation and has fought to get a personhood vote on the Iowa House floor when Windschitl and others blocked a vote on that legislation. (Windschitl introduced a different “personhood” bill this year.)

After the jump I’ve posted a map of Senate district 9 and the latest voter registration numbers for the district, along with Schultz’s official bio. It’s also worth noting that Schultz chairs the Iowa House Local Government Committee and previously chaired the Appropriations subcommittee on economic development. He endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2012. In my opinion, he’s a contender for most clueless Iowa legislator. His passionate opposition to marriage equality prompted him to introduce one of the dumbest bills I’ve heard of, which would have banned Iowa judges from citing case law or precedent in their rulings. Schultz also joined a small group of legislators who threatened to yank state funding for the Des Moines Area Community College over the Governors LGBTQ Youth Conference.

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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.  

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Competitive race coming in Iowa Senate district 9

First-term Democratic State Senator Bill Heckroth of Waverly announced yesterday that he will seek re-election in Iowa Senate district 9, which includes Butler and Bremer counties, along with parts of Black Hawk and Fayette counties. After the jump I’ve posted Heckroth’s press release, containing background on his career and his achievements in the legislature.

Senate district 9 is one of the Iowa GOP’s better pickup opportunities next year. Traditionally, Republicans have had a voter registration edge in this district, although I don’t know the current numbers. Republican Bob Brunkhorst represented Senate district 9 before retiring in 2006. Heckroth won the open-seat contest against Tom Hoogestraa by a reasonably comfortable margin of 1,346 votes, or 52.4 percent to 46.5 percent (pdf file). Then again, 2006 was a Democratic wave election.

Heckroth’s opponent next year will be Bill Dix, who announced his candidacy yesterday. Dix spent ten years in the Iowa House representing district 17, which makes up half of Senate district 9 and includes all of Butler plus part of Bremer county. Click here for state legislative district maps.

Dix rose to the level of Iowa House Appropriations Committee chairman. When Jim Nussle ran for governor in 2006, Dix sought the Republican nomination in the first Congressional district. He came up short against Mike Whalen in the GOP primary, but did well in the counties that are in Senate district 9 (pdf file), especially Butler County. Dix has been working at his family farm since 2006, but he told Charlotte Eby that the state’s budget problems “caused me to say we need to fix the mess, and I’m excited about coming and bringing what I can to put Iowa back on the right track.”

Ed Failor of Iowans for Tax Relief attended Dix’s press conference yesterday, which suggests that this statehouse campaign will be a fundraising priority for Republicans and their interest-group allies.

For those in northeast Iowa who want to get involved with Heckroth’s re-election campaign, he has listed contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses in the press release after the jump. That release also has details on Heckroth’s upcoming campaign kick-off events in Oelwein on November 8, in Waverly on November 9, and in Allison on November 12.  

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