Dem Phoenix announces against Koester in Ankeny's House 38
Two candidates who lost close 2010 House races are likely to face off in a no-incumbent Senate race in the state's northeast corner.
Insurance agent Mike Breitbach, a Republican, has announced in Senate District 28, which is all of Clayton and Allamakee Counties and parts of Winneshiek (including Decorah) and Fayette (NOT including Oelwein) counties in Northeast Iowa.
Brietbach lost to Democratic incumbent Roger Thomas by an unexpectedly close 122 votes in 2010. However, the Republican had a 500+ margin in Delaware County, which is not in this district. Thomas won their mutual home county, Clayton, by a similar margin, and the Democrat's edge in Fayette proved to be decisive.
Still, Brietbach has some name ID in that end of the district, which will be new turf for Democrat John Beard. The Decorah Democrat was a one-term House member in a Winneshiek-Fayette district, winning in 2008 but losing in `10 to late-starting Republican Bob Hager.
On paper, the seat has a GOP registration edge (1584 on Map Day, I'd say new numbers should be ready within the month). But it's been swingy in the past. Winneshiek, historically GOP, trended very Democratic in 2008, but swung back in 2010. Maybe if Newt gets nominated, Luther grad Calista Bisek (aka Mrs. Gingrich III) will pay a visit?
Also announcing, on the Democratic side: former Des Moines School Board member John Phoenix in south Ankeny based House District 38. It's the more Democratic of the two Ankeny seats (+191 registration on Map Day, though post-caucus that may be R+something). But it's where GOP incumbent Kevin Koester lives, and where he decided to run for a third term. With a good party balance and a solid candidate, look for this one on the target list. The north Ankeny seat, House 37 (This Is Where Your District Went) is open and looks set for a multi-way GOP primary.