Wednesday, May 11, 2011

District of the Day: Senate District 13, House District 25 and 26

District of the Day: Senate District 13, House District 25 and 26

Senate District 13

Registration: D 13376, R 13758, N 14051, total 41219, R+ 382
Incumbent: Kent Sorenson, R-Indianola

The swingy south suburban turf of Warren and Madison counties has been a revolving door for legislators for over a decade, and is certain to be closely fought in the battle of Boswell-Latham and in the two House races.

But Kent Sorenson, instinctively a battler, won't have his own race to fight in 2012, since he holds over till `14.

The district is remarkably unchanged from old Senate 37. It sheds a small bit of Dallas County and the city of Cumming in Warren (thus sparing Tom Harkin the indignity of being in Sorenson's district) and keeps all the rest of Warren and all of Madison County. The changes make a close district even closer.

Here's the timeline of the turnovers:

When this seat first got drawn in 2002, Republican Doug Shull knocked off Democrat Bill Fink. In 2006, Democrat Staci Appel set her sights on the seat early, and scared Shull into a backwards step to the Warren County House race, which he lost to Democratic incumbent Mark Davitt. Appel, meanwhile, defeated Julian Garrett.

In 2008, Sorenson beat Davitt. Then in 2010, after one House term, he beat Appel. Garrett, meanwhile...

House District 25

Registration: D 6449, R 7341, N 7296, total 21103, R+ 892
Incumbent: Julian Garrett, R-Indianola

...took over the Madison County based House seat when Jodi Tymeson retired. Garrett, 60, is from the Warren County part of the district, south of the city of Indianola and luckily for him south of the line. He won a three-way primary in old district 73 with 44%, winning Warren and Dallas but losing Madison. Garrett then beat a late-starting Democrat with 64%. He loses some east Warren precincts and, significantly, adds Norwalk. He also loses Cumming and the small part of Dallas County he had.

House District 26

Registration: D 6927, R 6417, N 6755, total 20116, D+ 510
Incumbent: Glen Massie, R-Des Moines

Scene of a major disappointment for Democrats last cycle. With Sorensen decamping for the Senate run after one term, Dems thought this was their number one takeover chance. They had a great candidate in Warren County public affairs director and longtime political operative Scott Ourth, who broke all kinds of first time candidate fundraising records. Republicans, meanwhile, had a Ron Paul activist named Glen Massie.

But with the Sorensen-Appel race the top Republican priority, and the brutal climate of 2010, Massie pulled off a 53% win. He's been a thorn in the side of Republican leadership, joining Kim Pearson in voting no on abortion restriction bills because they weren't Roe-Wade challenging total bans. There have even been rumors that Massie, 53, has had enough after just one session.

Ourth is expected to run UPDATE May 13: running again, and the new lines and the presidential cycle make this a little friendlier district for him than old 74. It sheds Norwalk to the west into Garrett's district, and gains east and south Warren territory in return. (Massie is from the far, far north end of the district, far enough that he has a Des Moines street address, but he's in Warren County.)

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