District of the Day: Senate District 50, House Districts 99 and 100
Senate District 50
Registration: D 17476, R 8200, N 13251, total 38953, D+ 9276
Incumbent: Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque
Our last district Draws Itself, as Dubuque is 94.6% of ideal district size. That's down from 98.6% of a district 10 years ago, and just over a whole district in 1990 when a small piece had to be carved out. This decade, to bring the population up, Sageville and the north chunk of the highly fragmented Dubuque Township are added. Redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering occasionally does work for the Dubuque city planning department; I count at least seven noncontiguous pieces of three different townships here.
None of this really matters much in a Democratic stronghold like this. Jochum moved smoothly over to the Senate in 2008 (a 70% win over a Some Dude) after 16 years in the House, when Mike Connolly retired. Her other 2008 win was getting the state constitution language modernized with the passage of what everyone called the "idiot amendment."
The line across Dubuque shifts, but there's still a north district and a south district, as there was in the 1990s as well.
House District 99
Registration: D 8894, R 4638, N 6813, total 20355, D+ 4256
Incumbent: Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque
Then-Speaker Pat Murphy was almost a victim of the 2010 zeitgeist. He'd won with a typical 69% in 2008, but Republican insurance agent Paul Kern held Murphy to 52-48 last year. It was Murphy's closest race since squeaking in by 91 votes in a 1989 special. Murphy took himself out as Democratic leader soon after the statewide results took him out as speaker.
2010 may have been a wake-up call, but things should be better for Murphy now. Party leadership means a lot of campaigning for other people instead of doorknocking south Dubuque. It also puts a special target on your back (ask Mike Gronstal). There wasn't a similar Republican tend in the district just to the south...
House District 100
Registration: D 8582, R 3562, N 6438, total 18598, D+ 5020
Incumbent: Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque
... where Chuck Isenhart won a second term with about the same 60something margin he had in 2008. The seat was open that year with Jochum moving over to the Senate. Isenhart won a three way primary with a clear majority. He had a second primary from Some Dude in 2010, winning with 86%.
The line across Dubuque pivots a bit, moving north in the west and south on the riverfront. Isenhart has the Loras campus and most of downtown. everything from the Illinois bridge north; Murphy has University of Dubuque and most everything south of Asbury Road.
A RAGBRAI only takes a week to cross the state; we've spent ten weeks. But much like a RAGBRAI, our journey through Iowa started at the Missouri and ends at the Mississippi. Our very last district line, between House 99 and 100, reaches the Mississippi River at the Julien Dubuque Bridge. Can't think of a more appropriate way to wrap this up.
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