Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 17, Iowa House District 33 & 34

Senate District 17
Registration: D 16615, R 7302, N 10142, total 34138, D +9313
Incumbent: Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines; holdover seat

Hatch has been a non-consecutive fixture in the Legislature for 25 years. He first went to the House in 1984, then lost a 1992 state Senate primary and a 1996 Congressional primary. He landed on his feet as Tom Harkin's top state staffer, then made an unexpected comeback to the House in 2000 when Mike Cataldo's re-election race melted down. He was paired with Ed Fallon in 2002 but switched over to the Senate and has had easy races since. As he will in the future, with the third most Democratic district in the state.

Hatch's district keeps its solid Democratic margin, but instead of going north, it shifts south and east to the city limits (the west line is Fleur). In fact, it changes enough that he has two different representatives; the old seat was made up of the Ruth Ann Gaines and Ako Abdul-Samad districts, neither of whom is in this new district. Hatch was unopposed in 2010 and holds over to 2014.

Campaign finance reports: Neighbors for Hatch

House District 33
Registration: D 7962, R 3405, N 4815, total 16217, D +4557
Incumbent: Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines

McCarthy claimed this seat in a three-way 2002 primary and has had few difficulties since. He took over as Majority Leader, the number two leadership post behind Speaker Pat Murphy, in 2006 when the Democrats won the house. Murphy stood down after the 2010 loss and McCarthy moved into the top spot. He won his own race with 60% in 2010 against perennial candidate Jeremy Walters, who got kicked out of the Republican's fair booth for saying AIDS victims deserved to die.

The southeast corner of Des Moines still dominates McCarthy's district. It moves a bit west, shedding the city of Pleasant Hill; the west border moves from SE 14th to Union and SE 5th. The north line moves south from University to the Iowa Interstate tracks. That all makes the safe Democratic seat about 500 Democrats safer. With no Republican opponent yet, McCarthy should be able to focus his efforts on taking back the House with few worries about his own seat.

Campaign finance reports: McCarthy for State Representative-McCarthy for Iowa

House District 34
Registration: D 8653, R 3897, N 5327, total 17921, D +4756
Incumbent: Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines

Hunter won a hurry-up January 2003 special when the just re-elected Frank Chiodo stepped down pre-session. Few problems since: an easy 2008 win, and his 2010 opponent dropped out.

Anti-abortion extremist, perennial candidate and self-proclaimed "Secretary General of the Army of God" Dave Leach made his way onto the Republican primary ballot. This is at least his seventh campaign; the most recent run was against Matt McCoy in 2010. Republicans who don't think murdering doctors is morally justified can vote for Patti Branco in the primary instead.

Hunter's south-side turf moves north and takes in the core of downtown, up to I-235, giving the district a tall, skinny look on a map. Sort of like 801 Grand only without the point on top. He cedes some turf on the east to McCarthy, and gets a nice smooth Fleur Drive line on the west. Like McCarthy, his safe seat gets just a little better.

Campaign finance reports: Committee to Elect Bruce Hunter

Original post 5/17/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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