District of the Day: Senate District 6, House District 11 and 12
Senate District 6
Registration: D 11,206, R 13,393, N 16,263, total 40,887, R+ 2187
Incumbent: Steve Kettering, R-Lake View
Kettering got screwed last redistricting, yet ended up getting a promotion. He was in the House, got paired up with Rod Roberts, and drew the short straw, not running in 2002. But serendipitously for him, mid-term state senator Steve King emerged as the congressional nominee in that year's epic four-way primary and convention battle. Kettering won the January 2003 special for King's seat and barely missed a day of session. Elections have been uneventful since.
Redistricting is much kinder to Kettering this time, as he may have the least-changed rural district in the state. Kettering keeps almost all his old territory. Buena Vista, Sac, and Carroll counties stay intact and stay in the district, and he also has pretty much the same chunk of eastern Crawford. He adds tiny Audubon County and keeps a pretty similar solid GOP registration edge.
The House lines change a bit within the Senate district, to the benefit of the two opposite-party incumbents.
House District 11
Registration: D 4650, R 7332, N 7700, total 19,690, R+ 2682
Incumbent: Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake
Worthan was another special election winner, but the most interesting part of that was the reason. Mary Lou Freeman, who was running for re-election unopposed, died after the withdrawal deadline. (Technically she was not re-elected posthumously; the contest was simply not counted.) Worthan won the special, just a month after the 2006 general election. He won with 66% in 2008 and 74% last year. In the new map he gains a chunk of Sac and about 500 Republicans, to give him some of the cleanest House lines in the state: exactly Sac and Buena Vista counties, no more, no less.
House District 12
Registration: D 6556, R 6061, N 8563, total 21197, D+ 495
Incumbent: Dan Muhlbauer, D-Manning
One of the very few bright spots for Democrats in 2010. Rod Roberts gave up the Carroll-based seat to run for governor, and Republicans nominated their own Sharron Angle, Daniel Dirkx (dubbed "the worst candidate ever" by desmoinesdem). This was too much even for the tea party mood of the cycle. Leading Republicans in Carroll endorsed the late starting Democrat, Dan Muhlbauer (the original nominee dropped out), who won a solid 1900 vote win for the only Democratic gain of the cycle. Muhlbauer, a former county supervisor whose father preceded him in the legislature, has carved a cautious course, defecting from the party on a few hign profile votes like nuclear power and marriage equality.
The line changes turn a 195 Republican registration edge into a 495 voter advantage to the Democrats. Still swingy, but better. Carroll County still dominates the district. Muhlbauer also keeps a more or less the same chunk of a few townships in western Crawford, up to but not including Denison. He drops the small piece of Sac (which he lost to Dirkx) to Worthan and instead gets all of Audubon County.
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