Saturday, March 17, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 39, Iowa House District 77 & 78

Senate District 39
Registration: D 13047, R 12826, N 15368, total 41270, D +221
Incumbent: Sandy Greiner, R-Keota; holdover seat

Greiner was the only Senator to vote against The Map. She said it was about the lines around Hills, which are a bit goofy but that's because of the city limits. (There's a long story behind that.) But methinks it was really about getting handed a district that's half in Johnson County.

Greiner has served two separate tenures in each side of the Capitol. First elected to the House in 1992, she moved to the Senate in 2000. But she got the short straw in a redistricting triple-up and went back, begrudgingly, to the House in `02. In 2008 she stepped down, hoping to serve on the Republican National Committee, but lost that race at the state convention. Scarcely missing a beat, she got heavily involved in 2010: an early backer of the "draft" Branstad campaign, a big mover and shaker in "independent" expenditure group the American Future Fund, and as a candidate. Greiner knocked off first-term Democrat Becky Schmitz in a district that included the southwest corner of Johnson, but went south to the Missouri border: Washington, Jefferson, Van Buren, and eastern Wapello.

Now the district shifts north. She keeps almost all of Washington, and in a bit of good news gets back her original base in Keokuk County. but the expanded turf in Johnson County more than negates that. Her 2002-2008 House seat had a GOP registration edge of more than 1700, and the 2010 Senate district increased that to more than 2100. Even her bit of Johnson County was all rural and included the county's most Republican townships.

Now Democrats have the advantage, and her new Johnson County turf has a distinctly just-built suburban flavor. Maybe the best news for Greiner is she has an odd district number and holds over till 2014.

Campaign finance reports: Citizens to Elect Greiner

House District 77
Registration: D 7545, R 5458, N 7982, total 21000, D +2087
No incumbent

High growth North Liberty anchors a new, all Johnson County seat which covers the whole west and south border of the People's Republic. It starts with Swisher and Shueyville, picks up Tiffin and Oxford, and ends up in Lone Tree, wrapping around and not including the city of Hills. The various pieces used to belong mostly to Dave Jacoby, Nate Willems, and Jarad Klein.

Democrats have a top tier candidate in Sally Stutsman, who's won five county-wide elections for supervisor. Her lone career loss was for the House in 2000, but that was in a solid GOP seat based in Louisa and Muscatine, and she did far better than the Some Dude who lost four years earlier.

The biggest excitement in this race may be the aftermath. Stutsman was re-elected in 2010 and would leave the Board of Supervisors mid-term if elected to the House.

Steve Sherman of North Liberty is a Christian author who's also done a few guest editorials that reveal an... interesting rhetorical style. He also hosted a house party for Rick Santorum back before the caucuses. He's the first Republican to file for an all-Johnson seat since the 2003 Dave Jacoby special election.

Campaign finance reports: Stutsman for State House

House District 78
Registration: D 5502, R 7368, N 7386, total 20270, R +1866
Incumbents: Jarad Klein, R-Keota (Betty DeBoef, R-What Cheer, retiring) Primary challenge

When Greiner left the House seat in 2008, her chosen successor was young Republican Jarad Klein. But the 2008 wave crested high enough to elect Democrat Larry Marek by 157 votes. Marek had a good biographical fit for the district, but was a little less of a fit for the House Democrats, and he aligned with the Six Pack of conservaDems. He was largely left to fend for himself at re-election time, even as the party was going all out for his senator, Becky Schmitz, on the same turf. The rematch coincided with the 2010 counter-wave and Klein won handily.

The new lines help Klein, even though the party balance doesn't change much: the seat sheds all of the People's Republic of Johnson County where Marek earned his 2008 winning margin. Klein also drops eastern Jefferson County and a little bit of Washington (Crawfordsville and Brighton). In exchange he gets all of strong Republican Keokuk County... and with it a fellow Republican House member, Betty DeBoef, who waited till early November to announce retirement.

Klein still gets a primary, though: church administrator Priscilla Marlar of rural Washington filed. She appears to be the daughter of Rick Marlar, who ran a tea party-ish primary against Sandra Greiner in 2010.

No Democratic names have emerged; didn't we HAVE this seat two years ago?

Campaign finance reports: Klein for Statehouse

Original post 6/16/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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