Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 31, Iowa House District 61 & 62

Senate District 31
Registration: D 16811, R 6981, N 14704, total 38516, D +9830
Incumbent: Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo; holdover seat

An excellent Democratic district gets even better with minor line changes. Dotzler moved over to the Senate in 2002 after three terms in the House and has had easy races, winning with 63% in 2010. He keeps all of Waterloo northeast of the river and a similar chunk of the southeast, along with Elk Run Heights, Evansdale and Raymond. The changes are at the edges and are a bigger deal on the map than on the demographics. Dotzler gives up a couple rural fragments and picks up a couple different townships, Gilbertville and Washburn. With an odd number district, he holds over till 2014.

Campaign finance reports: Citizens to Elect Bill Dotzler

House District 61
Registration: D 7345, R 4340, N 7563, total 19256, D +3005
Incumbent: Anesa Kajtazovic, D-Waterloo

This seat has seen four winners in four election cycles, but Kajtazovic is a good bet to be the first incumbent re-elected here since Democrat Don Shoultz in 2004.

Former TV anchor Tami Wiencek upset longtime legislator Don Shoultz in 2006 for one of the few Republican gains anywhere in the nation that year. Wiencek cut an earnest and moderate profile in her term, but when the chips were down she voted the party line which didn't help in this district. Democrats fought local celebrity with local celebrity, and recruited a seemingly top-tier candidate in former Hawkeye football star Kerry Burt to take the seat back in 2008.

But Burt self-destructed with personal and ethical issues in his first term. Kajtazovic was the only Democrat with the nerve to step up and actually challenge him. When Burt dropped out after the withdrawal deadline, she won a 91% primary victory, which has to be some kind of record against an incumbent.

Republicans who had hoped for an easy gain against a scandalized incumbent were helpless against Kajtazovic, who beat former Waterloo mayor John Rooff with 59% to immediately earn two lines in the record books: first Bosnian-Iowan in the Legislature and at age 24 the youngest female legislator in state history.

Republican candidate Lyn Tackett lost the 2010 GOP primary to Rooff.

Kajtazovic keeps roughly the same chunk of southeast Waterloo. the district grows to the south and east, gaining four rural townships, Gilbertville and Washburn. She sheds Eagle Township south of town. The changes help the district's Democratic margin by about 350 registered voters.

Campaign finance reports: Anesa Kajtazovic for Iowa House

House District 62
Registration: D 9466, R 2641, N 7141, total 19260, D +6825
Incumbent: Deborah Berry, D-Waterloo

Berry, who was then in her first city council term, finished first in the 2002 primary when this seat opened up. But she only won 33%, short of the 35% required. The district then saw two (!) special nominating conventions before Berry finally emerged as the nominee after the second convention.

A 2006 opponent dropped out, then Berry won an easy three to one 2008 primary win against a power plant opponent. No opposition at all in 2010.

The new district keeps its core: all of Waterloo northeast of the Cedar River. Berry picks up about a precinct in town, loses Poyner township, and keeps Elk Run Heights, Evansdale and Raymond. This is the third most Democratic district in the state, behind the two Iowa City seats, and no Republican seems to be up for the challenge.

Campaign finance reports: Berry for Iowa House of Representatives

Original post 6/06/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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