"(Bleam) said that compared to Shaw he is a ''different style of principled constitutional conservative".'' His different style, he said, is a result of his state, national and international experience...That's a polite way of saying that Shaw has aligned himself with the tea partiest of the tea partiest during his first term.
Bleam is also playing the age card; it's interesting to me that conservatives, at this level of office, have generally been more willing to vote for young people and that they generally do a far better job of subsidizing their young ones -- check those resume bullet points on Bleam -- than my team. And it's places like this (Pocahontas, Humboldt, and Calhoun counties, with part of Kossuth) that will elect the recent grad, as opposed to youthful "progressive" Iowa City. (Yeah, still mad Raj Patel lost.)
Still, this race seems like a heavy lift given Shaw's proven strength as a candidate in two 2010 races, a tough primary and a general election gain of a "Democratic" open seat (OK, Delores Mertz barely counts).
(And don't even get me started on the two David Johnsons... speaking of which, Democratic activists aren't exactly thrilled about the West Branch Johnson's chances against the GOP's Jeff Kaufmann in now-D leaning House 73, is anyone else going to get in?)
The city of Marshalltown is 90% of this seat. Smith has beaten the GOP's Jane Jech twice in a row; by a lot in 2008 and by a little in 2010. Jech has migrated to the Senate race instead, where she's an underdog to former senator Larry McKibben for the right to take on Democrat Steve Sodders this fall.