A Republican-Free Ballot
With independent Mike Dooley's brief supervisor campaign ending in withdrawing from the ballot, the fall matchups are set in Johnson County. And something's missing: Republicans.
Most Iowa City voters won't see anyone but a Democrat below the statewide and congressional level. Coralville and North Liberty (and the far west side) have a couple of Libertarians running, but again no downballot Republicans.
This was supposed to be the year that the GOP stormed the county courthouse, but instead the five incumbents will get four more years with no challenge in either primary or general election. What happened?
My thought is: the January 19 special election settled it. That was as favorable an alignment of the stars as the GOP could get: a low turnout special election at a weird time of year, with a self-financing candidate with deep (by local election standards) pockets. Yet Janelle Rettig won it by 20 points, and that seems to have scared off all challengers.
So it's all about the state stuff in Iowa City (and by "state stuff" I include hot legislative races in the outlying parts of the county). Except for the bars, of course. If you get your news solely from the Press-Citizen, you would think from the level of coverage that the 21 bar issue was as big a deal as a presidential caucus and that it was next week.