Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 32, Iowa House District 63 & 64

Senate District 32
Registration: D 11597, R 11676, N 18565, total 41863, R +79; the most evenly split district in the state.
Incumbent: Brian Schoenjahn, D-Arlington

Schoenjahn was first elected in 2004 with 53% in an open seat race when two term Republican Kitty Rehberg stepped down. He scored an easy 2008 re-elect with 63%.

Schoenjahn's old district 12 had a more comfortable Democratic registration edge of 1,269. But surprisingly, Republicans were slow to recruit a candidate.  Independence farmer Elliott Henderson jumped in at the filing deadline.

About two thirds of the old district was two whole counties that met only at a corner: Clayton and Buchanan. The remaining third of the population was made up of what looked like leftover pieces: Black Hawk east of Waterloo, Delaware north of Manchester, and southern and eastern Fayette outside of Oelwein and West Union. That included Schoenjahn's Arlington home.

The new district shifts west, entirely out of Clayton and Delaware. Schoenjahn instead picks up all of Bremer County. Most of Buchanan remains, except four townships and the city of Rowley. He keeps parts of Fayette and Black Hawk but the lines change significantly. The Fayette County lines move south and west to add Oelwein, removing Waudena, Fayette and Elgin. In Black Hawk, the district loses the southeast corner around La Porte City. The new line follows the Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Raymond city limits, with everything north and east going to Schoenjahn.

Campaign finance reports: Citizens for Schoenjahn

House District 63
Registration: D 5472, R 6906, N 10012, total 22403, R +1434
No Incumbent

Last decade, Bremer County was split between two House districts, Republican Pat Grassley's Butler-based 17th and Democrat Andrew Wenthe's Oelwein-centered 18th. But it was united in Senate District 9, which changed hands twice. Republican Bob Brunkhorst moved over from the House in 2002 (barely winning the primary) In 2006, Democrat Bill Heckroth won a hard-fought open seat race with 53%.

Heckroth was targeted in a big, big way by the Republicans in 2010. Bill Dix, who had left the House 17 seat in 2006 to run unsuccessfully in the 1st District congressional primary, was on the comeback trail and was the top fundraiser in the state (outside of legislative leadership). That and the wave were too much for Heckroth, who lost 58-42.

But now it's Heckroth on the comeback trail, and while the numbers aren't great, you could hardly draw a better seat in this area for him personally. An undivided Bremer County makes up 80% of the population. Almost all the north Black Hawk section was in the old Senate seat, too. The only brand-new turf is the city of Dunkerton (the Senate lines wrapped around it) and a couple townships east of Waterloo. the district still has a GOP registration edge, but the numbers are better than the Senate seat (R +3820) was.

Republican home schooler Sandy Salmon, of Janesville finished third in a three way 2010 House primary and is trying again. Friends of Sandy Salmon has a slim early money edge, with $6123 in January 19 cash on hand to Heckroth for Iowa's $5034.

House District 64
Registration: D 6125, R 4770, N 8553, total 19460, D +1355
Open seat; Dan Rasmussen, R-Independence, retiring

A last minute announcement here, as Rasmussen sent word the day before filing deadline hat he was not seeking re-election. The replacement Republican was ready the next day: Jim Givant of Oelwein, whose business is "Medical billing, revenue recovery and payment choices." Democrats are running Oelwein city council member Bruce Bearinger in this D-leaning seat.

First elected in 2002, Rasmussen saw close races. He held on for a 499 vote win against the 2006 wave, then sat out a term after a 759 vote loss to Democrat Gene Ficken in 2008. In the high-profile, high-dollar -- broadcast TV ads in both Waterloo and Cedar Rapids -- 2010 rematch, Rasmussen prevailed by just 208 votes.

The seat keeps almost all of Buchanan County except four small rural townships and Rowley in the southeast. The old turf included southeastern Black Hawk, including LaPorte City and Gilbertville. all of Black Hawk is now gone. The new district goes north into southern Fayette County, taking in Oelwein, Arlington, Maynard, Westgate and Randalia. It stops south of Fayette and Wadena.

Original post 6/07/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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