Registration: D 12381, R 15649, N 12492, total 40576, R +3268
Incumbent: Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny; holdover seat
Ankeny has grown enough in the past decade that, for the first time, it gets split into two House districts. Old House District 70 was, basically, the city of Ankeny, which with its 2000 population of 27,000 was about 90% of a House seat. By 2010 Ankeny had grown to more than 45,000 and now dominates two House seats and is 3/4 of a Senate seat. Senate 19 sheds almost a whole House district worth of population to the west, including Polk City, Grimes and Johnston (which doubled over the decade).
This had been Jeff Lamberti's home base until he left to challenge Leonard Boswell in 2006. Democrats recruited a perfect candidate, Ankeny mayor Merle Johnson, but he came up just short against Larry Noble. Noble won an uncontested race in 2010, then immediately stepped down to become Public Safety commissioner in the Branstad Administration.
In the January 2011 hurry-up special, Republicans had a hard-fought convention, with six candidates and five ballots. Winner Whitver is an ex-Cyclone footballer and a Drake law student, who had lost a 2006 House race on about as different a turf as you can imagine, inner city Des Moines, to Ako Abdul-Samad. Whitver easily won the special 63%-37%. In his early 30s, he's definitely on the GOP rising star list, and he has a couple more years to work the shrunken district before he's up in `14.
Campaign finance reports: Friends of Whitver
House District 37, better know as This Is Where Your District Went
Registration: D 5756, R 8836, N 6501, total 21123, R +3080
No incumbent; contested Republican primary
I dubbed this one "This Is Where Your District Went" in honor of all the rural House Republicans who got paired up. Ankeny has grown enough in the past decade that, for the first time, it gets split into two House districts. Old House District 70 was, basically, the city of Ankeny, which with its 2000 population of 27,000 was about 90% of a House seat. By 2010 Ankeny had grown to more than 45,000 and now dominates two House seats.
The empty northern seat is the more Republican of the two and has attracted six GOP primary candidates, the biggest field in the state:
- Tea Partier Stacy Rogers was first to announce. Rogers for Iowa had $1395 in the bank at the January 19 finance report.
- Ron Paul backer Matt DeVries took his first shot at the legislature last year at the convention for the Senate 35 special. DeVries for Iowa led fundraising with $3424 cash on hand.
- Jim Robidoux is a middle school Spanish teacher. Robidoux for Iowa House had just opened its bank account with $200.
- Attorney Jeff Wright was first to file. Jeff Wright for Iowa had $427 on hand.
- Jacob Mason, another attorney, filed on the last day.
- First time candidate John Landon. Landon had spent a bit more than the others, just a bit; Friends for Landon had $1745 in the bank on January 19.
Whichever Republican emerges from this mess will face Democrat Neal Tracy of Ankeny.
Outside of Ankeny, new District 37 goes north to pick up Alleman and east to the Bondurant city line.
House District 38
Registration: D 6625, R 6813, N 5991, total 19453, R +188
Incumbent: Kevin Koester, R-Ankeny; Primary challenge
The comforts of home seem to have outweighed the prospects of redder turf for Koester. New 38 goes south to the Des Moines city limits, and includes Saylorville.
Koester easily beat a primary opponent in 2008 when Republican Carmine Boal retired. He drew a competitive (54%-46%) challenge from Democrat Matt Pfaltzgraf.
Koester drew a bye in 2010, then tried for a move-up in January 2011 when the Senate seat opened up. But in a rare rebuke to a just re-elected legislator, he was the second of six candidates eliminated at the nominating convention.
So there may be primary vulnerability. Challenger Brett H. Nelson of Saylor Township ran for this seat in 2002, finishing fourth in a four way primary.
Former Des Moines School Board member John Phoenix is in for the Democrats. With a very close party balance and a solid candidate, look for this one on the target list.
Campaign finance reports: Kevin Koester for House
Original post 5/19/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House