Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 22, Iowa House District 43 & 44

Senate District 22
Registration: D 11808, R 16484, N 14097, total 42408, R +4676
Incumbent: Pat Ward, R-West Des Moines Clive; primary challenge

The district is half Polk, half Dallas: Clive, Waukee, Windsor Heights and parts of WDM. Ward was elected in a hurry-up special during the 2004 session when Mary Kramer got a dream job: ambassador to a tropical island. Barbados, to be exact. Ward easily won a full term that fall and got by unopposed in 2008, though Democratic efforts at campaign recruitment continued to the last minute.

So the first bad luck she's had was this map. Ward was probably the first legislator in the state to announce her plans: March 31st, before noon. It's a smart move: the district she cedes to McCoy has a registration edge of more than 5000 Democrats. This seat is actually better than the one she had last decade.

Maybe too much better. Ward, with a relatively moderate record and persona, is getting a challenge from the right. Megachurch pastor Jeff Mullen of Point of Grace Church in Waukee is running. It's a political parish known for hosting candidates, gay bashing sermons, and attempts to restrict the personal lives of its day care employees. (Bleeding Heartland has an excellent overview.)

The numbers aren't great for a Democrat, but the party is well-positioned with attorney Desmund Adams, a Drake grad (undergrad and law) with an interesting biography. Adams has been high-profile and actually was ahead of both Republicans in fundraising on the January 19 reports. Adams for Senate campaign raised $18,655, with Mullen for Senate at $13,195. Pat Ward for Senate was third at $11,095, mostly from PACs.

House District 43
Registration: D 7056, R 8341, N 5361, total 20765, R +1285
Incumbent: Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights

Lines stay similar: Windsor Heights, the Polk part of Clive, and part of northern West Des Moines. It's long and skinny but Clive's elongated boundaries kind of force that.

The area has had a few reps, all Republicans, in recent years. Gene Maddox, who made a Senate to House move in the 2002 map year when he got paired with Kramer, stepped down in 2006. Dan Clute won a single term in 2006, but didn't run in 2008. Democrats scored a recruiting coup with Windsor Heights Mayor Jerry Sullivan, but Chris Hagenow and the party balance proved to be too much for a pickup in a good year. But barely - Hagenow won by just 91 votes. He had an easier time in 2010, with 58%. The reality is probably between those two margins. Hagenow gains about 200 Republicans compared to the old lines, which could be useful given the 2008 margin.

Democrats have recruited economic-development professional Susan Judkins of Clive.

Campaign finance reports: Hagenow for Iowa House

House District 44
Registration: D 4752, R 8143, N 8736, total 21643, R +3391
No Incumbent

More than anyplace else in the state, this is truly a new district. As in, built since the last time we drew a map. The old Ralph Watts district which encompassed most of Dallas County literally doubled in population. Watts keeps the western part, House 19; this new, no incumbent seat is Waukee plus the Dallas County parts of Clive and West Des Moines. Waukee grew from just over 5,000 people in the 2000 census to nearly 14,000 in 2010, and becomes the anchor of this seat.

With no incumbents and few roots, I was expecting a multi-way primary like the one in north Ankeny. But the Republicans settled early on Dallas County GOP chair Rob Taylor.

This turf is fairly solid for the GOP, but Democrats are making a serious effort in the corresponding Senate 22 race with Desmund Adams and have a good candidate in the House in West Des Moines Fire Fighter Eric Brenneman. He started later than Taylor and didn't have a January 19 finance report; Iowans for Taylor reported $20,497.

A Rob Taylor win could expand the House Taylor caucus up to three. Cedar Rapids Democrat Todd looks solid, but Sioux City Republican Jeremy is in a pair-up with Democrat Chris Hall. Then there's Rich Taylor, a Democrat running in Senate 42. Even Duran Duran didn't have that many unrelated Taylors.

Original post 5/24/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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