Wednesday, June 29, 2011

District of the Day: Senate District 48, House Districts 95 and 96

District of the Day: Senate District 48, House Districts 95 and 96

Senate District 48

Registration: D 11553, R 11552, N 15559, total 38706, D + 1
No Incumbent

House District 95

Registration: D 6453, R 5485, N 7317, total 19287, D + 968
Open seat: incumbent Nate Willems, D-Lisbon running for Senate

New House 95 bears so little resemblance to the House 29 where Nate Willems won two terms that you can't even really call it the same district. The old district was a half Linn, half Johnson seat. This seat is all in Linn, and the only overlap is the Mt.Vernon-Lisbon metro area and Springville just to the north. It adds most of the rest of north and east rural Linn County -- basically, Palo, everything north of Robins, and the whole eastern border. Most of that was Kraig Paulsen's or Nick Wagner's. That makes up 90% or a district; the southeast corner of Buchanan (Rowley and four townships) gets thrown in to balance the Census count.

The Mt. Vernon-Lisbon area has been home base for several legislators in a row: Dave Osterberg, one-term Republican Lynn Schulte, and Ro Foege. Foege announced his retirement just before the 2008 filing deadline, and Willems won handily in 2008 and by a surprisingly narrow 53-47 in 2010. (Still, that's not bad in a GOP wave year; Foege lost essentially the same turf to Schulte in 1994, coming back to win in `96).

Since Willems has to run on mostly new turf anyway, he may as well try for the move up. The other half of the Senate district includes Anamosa, where he grew up. So this district is good for him even though it's the very definition of a swing seat, with a Democratic registration edge as of Map Day of ONE voter. And that was before the Loebsacks started packing. Luckily for Democrats, The Senate seat is  even-numbered so it votes on the higher turnout presidential cycle. As for the House seat, Mt. Vernon has long had in influence in Linn County beyond its size.

House District 96

Registration: D 5100, R 6067, N 8242, total 19419, R+ 967
No incumbent Lee Hein, R-Monticello (?)

UPDATE Later that same evening: An alert reader notes this post:
Rep. Lee Hein (R-Monticello) has announced he intends to run for re-election in House District 96.

After redistricting, district 96 is comprised of all of Delaware County and portions of Jones County.

Hein is the third generation to work on his family farm operation, growing corn and soybeans along with raising hogs and cattle. He has been very active in the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Farm Business Association, and the Jones County Pork Producers and Cattlemen’s Association...
In fairness, this is kind of a My District Just Not My House thing. No word in the post about where Hein will be sleeping at night while he "work(s) on his family farm operation" which is just east of the district line. Hein was paired up with fluke winner Brian Moore (R-Zwingle) in Jackson County based House 58.

In the 2001 map, Jones County was in one House district and Delaware County was split. This decade it's the other way around, as Delaware stays whole and Jones is split. Most of the land in Jones goes east to House 58, but most of the people, in population centers Anamosa and Monticello, are in this district. As a whole, Jones is a little bigger than Delaware, so this is a more even split, something like 55-45 Delaware rather than 60-40 Jones.  If it comes to an open seat primary, those kinds of friends and neighbors factors make a difference.

Freshman Republican Lee Hein lives just east of the lines in rural Monticello and is paired with fellow Republican Brian Moore. But Hein, who beat Democrat Ray Zirkelbach in 2010, is a family farmer and not mobile. The more likely GOP carpetbagger is Steve Lukan of New Vienna...

...who isn't paired but got a strongly Democratic district. He's had most of Delaware County, including population center Manchester, for his whole decade in office.

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