Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Three Way Democratic Race in Senate 42

I know, I know. 27 days till the caucuses. I should be saying something about the presidential race. Keep reading, you'll get there. But where else are you going to hear about the looming three-way Democratic primary in Senate District 42?

The scene: The bump on the bottom of Iowa, Lee County, with Henry County and bits of Washington and Jefferson added. Our story begins when longtime Sen. Gene Fraise announces he won't seek re-election.

Our players are:

  • Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland.

  • Also from Fort Madison, electrician and party activist Bob Morawitz.

  • And from Mount Pleasant, Rich Taylor, recently retired working more than 26 years at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. Does that mean he's the AFSCME guy in this race? If so, Representative Todd would sure welcome him to the Taylor Caucus.

    So with three we're theoretically in the zone where no one gets 35 percent, thus forcing a convention, but the votes would have to split exactly right. (Nearly happened statewide in the `02 governor primary: just three candidates and Doug Gross only got 35.6.) Still, you should go to your own party's caucus in case that convention happens.

    The winner faces Republican Larry Kruse, a Lee County supervisor, who got in before Fraise announced his retirement. Party registration favors whichever Dem gets through the primary; Henry County is solidly Republican unless your name is Vilsack, but Lee is even more solidly Democratic.

    Contests like this often become friends and neighbors races. Lee County makes up 59% of the district, with Henry making up 33% and the rest in the other counties. But the two Lee candidates could split that vote. Just one of many dynamics to watch.

    That Tangent got too long, needs to be a new post.
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