Dems Hold 3 of 4 Close Races as Whitead, Wendt Win in Woodbury
While recounts remain possible, incumbent Democrats appear to have won three of the state's four closest races while losing one seat.
In Woodbury County, Democrats held on to win two tight House races. In Iowa House District 1 incumbent Democrat Wes Whitead had 6,152 votes and Republican Jeremy Taylor won 6,092. At the end of Election Night, Whitead had a six-vote lead. In Iowa House District 2, incumbent Democrat Roger Wendt had 4,709, ahead of Republican Rick Bertrand with 4,429.
Whitead and Wendt were both showing up as losers for several hours on Election Night due to delays in counting absentee ballots, which leaned heavily Democratic across the state. The Sioux City Journal reports that Woodbury County had absentee counting problems related to the new state law requiring absentee ballots to be tabulated by precinct.
Late absentee results also had Rep. Elesha Gayman listed as a loser in House District 84 in Scott County for a while on Election Night, but the first-term Democrat regained the lead, and the seat, with the absentees.
In Linn County, four out of nine late-arriving absentees were postmarked on time and counted in House District 37. The Linn County Auditor's office reports that two went to Republican challenger Renee Schulte and two were for Democratic incumbent Art Staed, leaving Schulte with a 14 vote lead.
An email press release from House Democrats Wednesday afternoon began with the line "After expanding their majority to 56 in last week’s election"--math which would appear to exclude Staed.
At the Black Hawk County canvass, the formal meeting where county supervisors certify results, incumbent Democrat Jeff Danielson had a 17 vote lead over GOP challenger Walt Rogers in Senate District 10. The Waterloo Courier reports that Rogers was confident enough in his Election Night lead that he gave a victory speech, while "Danielson was dejectedly leaving the Democrats' party even before President-elect Barack Obama delivered his own victory speech."