Registration: D 9992, R 19370, N 16400, total 45779, R +9378
Incumbent: David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan (Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg retiring) Holdover seat
"It's impossible, I think, for any Democrat to win that district," Jack Kibbie said on Map Day, and so it surprised no one when the Emmetsburg Democrat announced his retirement. While Kibbie has been collecting farewell accolades from his fellow legislators during his final session, Republican David Johnson settles in until the 2014 election.
District 1 is five whole counties in the state's northwest corner: Dickinson and Clay, Lyon, Palo Alto and Osceola, in order of population. (Census trivia: Dickinson and Clay recorded EXACTLY the same population: 16,667.) Johnson keeps Dickinson, his home county Osceola and most of Clay (including the city of Spencer). He loses O'Brien and a sliver of Sioux to Randy Feenstra, and instead gets blood-red Lyon County, which he had in his 1990s House district. He also picks up Kibbie's base, Palo Alto.
Johnson, 60, moved over from the House in 2002 and was comfortable in old Senate District 3; 59% in 2006 and unopposed in 2010.
Campaign finance reports: David Johnson for Senate District 3 (sic)
House District 1
Registration: D 4035, R 11957, N 7379, total 23380, R +7922
Incumbent: Jeff Smith, R-Okoboji; primary challenge
Too much of a good thing? Jeff Smith's old very Republican district becomes a very, VERY Republican district, and that in turn brings him a primary challenge.
Campaign For Liberty/anti-tax advocate Kevin Wolfswinkel of Sibley takes a confrontational stance:
The Republican Party and the citizens of District 1 deserve a leader who will not just give lip service to the priority issues, but will be a leader who will go to Des Moines and fight for them. Pro-life, the restoration of 2nd amendment rights and less government are party pillars, which require uncompromising dedication.Smith has been a low key freshman, compared to the Pearson-Massie-Shaw krazy kaucus, and Wolfswinkel seems ready to go that route.
Smith's old district 6 was basically Spirit Lake, Okoboji and Spencer. In the new map he keeps almost all of the Iowa Great Lakes population core in the northern two-thirds of Dickinson, then heads west to Osceola and Lyon. The new turf makes up 60 percent of the district, which Wolfswinkel pointedly called "new" District 1 in his announcement.
Smith won an easy primary and had no opposition in the 2010 general to take over old district 6 from fellow Republican Mike May. Jeff Smith for Iowa House had $2723 on hand on January 19; Wolfswinkel had not yet opened a committee.
With a GOP margin this big, Democrats can't even hope for an extreme nominee to give them a shot here, and no Democrat filed.
House District 2
Registration: D 5957, R 7413, N 9021, total 22399, R +1456
No incumbent; contested Republican primary
This empty seat is all of Clay and Palo Alto, with the southern third of Dickinson thrown in. Much of this was Smith's. Palo Alto was in Democrat John Wittneben's old district 7.
Recent law school grad and ex-Steve King intern Megan Hess of Spencer got in early. Minister Josh Davenport joined the race in March.
House 2 is a Republican seat, true, with a registration edge of 1459. But it's a veritable People's Republic compared to the other northwest Iowa seats. Jack Kibbie's base is in Palo Alto, and Marcy Frevert lasted a long time before she retired and handed off to Wittneben last year. House Democrats seem to have recruited a solid candidate in Spencer city council member Steve Bomgaars. He comes from a background teaching American government, and Hess was once one of his students.
Bomgaars seems to be playing down party ID and has taken a no "special interest" money pledge. That shows on the January 19 campaign finance report; Committee to Elect Hess has raised $15,945 to Steven K Bomgaars for State Representative's $7,618; Davenport didn't join the race till after the January 19 reports.
Original post 4/25/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House