Monday, October 10, 2011

The Instant Lame Duck

The Instant Lame Duck

It takes a special alignment of stars to be a lame duck from the day you are elected. Shelley Sekula Gibbs did it by winning a special election on the same day she lost a general election in 2006. Neil Abercrombie did it by winning a special election and losing a primary on the same day in 1986.

But neither of them pulled off the trick of being a lame duck before even winning an election, so Cindy Golding is by my count the first.

You see, the Republican nominee in the Battle of Marion lives inside the current district lines of old Senate District 18, under which the November 8 special election will be conducted. She does not, however, live inside the lines of new Senate District 34, where the overwhelming majority of the old District 18 constituents will be next year when the term expires.

This concern was noted before the GOP nominating convention by Craig Robinson at TheIowaRepublican:
She will not live in the district when the new lines are applied for the 2012 elections. If Golding would win the nomination and go on to win Senate District 18 seat, she would either only serve one term, or she would have to move in order to remain in the district. Republicans are likely looking for a candidate to hold the seat, not fill it temporarily.
The other two GOP contenders who lost at the convention, Mary Rathje and Matt Dummermuth, both live inside both the old Senate 18 and new Senate 34 lines. So does Democratic nominee Liz Mathis, of rural Robins.

In Iowa Clean Redistricting, it's generally accepted for an elected official to move "back into" their own district if they're in what I call a My District Just Not My House situation. But for Golding, My House is apparently more important than My District. She has already announced that if elected, she would not move and would run instead in Senate District 48. (Bleeding Heartland has maps of all three.)

New Senate 48 has very little overlap with Old Senate 18. The districts share just three townships - Fayette, rural Marion, and Golding's township of Monroe - and the city of Palo. The new turf then sprawls into northern and eastern Linn County, most of the population of Jones County, and all the way up into Delaware and Buchanan.

So Republicans are spending a load of time and money getting Golding's name out in Robins and Hiawatha and Marion for a one-session Senator. But even if they succeed, they'll still have to recruit a new candidate to hold the district next year, and teach a new name to a confused electorate who's already grappling with the idea that the Lundby on the ballot is a Democrat.

And the Democrats already have a strong Senate 48 candidate lined up in Rep. Nate Willems, a Lisbon legislator and Anamosa native.

So, why not move, Cindy? Why announce before you even get elected that you're running in a different seat? Robinson may have the answer: "Moving will not be easy since Golding lives in a very expensive home." And if even the other Republicans are saying she has an expensive house, that must be some house.

View gotcha in a larger map

Nice crib. Love the columns. And is that a fountain I see at the crest of that curving driveway?

The Linn County Assessor lists the 9,111 square foot house on 36.49 acres at an assessed valuation of $855,400. That's a lot of home to love.

No, material success is not a crime. But when the material success is more important than the people you're seeking to represent, that should send up some warning flags.

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