Saturday, March 17, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 46, Iowa House District 91 & 92

Senate District 46
Registration: D 12899, R 12635, N 18487, total 44037, D +264
Incumbents: Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon and Jim Hahn, R-Muscatine

How many of us assumed on Map Day that Hahn, who'll be 76 be Election Day 2012, would step down and cede this seat to Shawn Hamerlinck? Or that Hamerlinck, who works in Clinton and lives almost on the line of no-incumbent Senate 49, would move?

Didn't happen, so we have the only two incumbent Senate primary, between two Republicans on turf that leans Democratic.

This new combined seat is exactly half and half: one House seat that's all Muscatine, one that's all Scott. (Specifics under each.) Both of the House districts have been won by Democrats in recent years.

Jim Hahn of Muscatine went to the House in 1990. He moved over to the Senate in 2004 when long-timer Dick Drake retired. That district went north into Jeff Kaufmann's Cedar County based House district. Hahn loses all of Cedar County, the northern tier of Muscatine, and a tiny piece of Johnson that he won't miss much.

What he gets instead is a chunk of western Scott County and Shawn Hamerlinck. The Davenport city council member knocked off Democrat Frank Wood in 2008 by just 384 votes. That district went north into Republican Steve Olson's House district that was about half rural-suburban north and east Scott County and half rural-suburban south and west Clinton County.

This primary has rippled into the 2nd CD congressional race. Counter-intuitively, Hahn has endorsed the Quad City based candidate, John Archer, while Hamerlinck is supporting Muscatine's Dan Dolan. That ought to muddy the friends and neighbors dynamic.

Democrats are ready to take on the survivor with Muscatine firefighter Chris Brase, who seems to be a Tom Courtney recruit. Courtney's from the safe adjacent district to the south so he's likely to help out.

On the January 19 campaign finance report, Committee to Elect Jim Hahn had $6594 in hand, raised $2450, and reported no spending. Committee to Elect Shawn Hamerlinck raised $7,088.00, spent $7358, and had $2261 in the bank. Committee to Elect Chris Brase had just gotten started with $500.

House District 91
Registration: D 6341, R 6553, N 8506, total 21408, R +212
Incumbent: Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine

Mark Lofgren, a first time candidate in 2010, finally took this seat back for the GOP. He beat the first Democrat to hold the set in decades, three termer Nathan Reichert, by 1500 votes.

This is another District Draws Itself, as the city of Muscatine is 75% of ideal district size. Lofgren also keeps suburban Bloomington Township (a GOP stronghold) and the same three townships in eastern Muscatine County including Stockton. He sheds one rural township to the west and adds the Fruitland area. This adds a little population and makes a swing seat even closer.

Democrats have recruited John Dabeet, chair of the Muscatine Community College business department. Dabeet is of Palestinian heritage and Democrats felt the need to emphasize that he is a Christian.

This seat is definitely winnable for a Democrat in a good year, as Muscatine is trending blue, but it'll take some work as Muscatine is historically low turnout.

Campaign finance reports: Team Lofgren

House District 92
Registration: D 6558, R 6082, N 9981, total 22629, D +476
Incumbent: Ross Paustian, R-Walcott

No one really thought Elesha Gayman had a shot in 2006, when the netroots activist shocked Jim (The Elder) Van Fossen. Gayman set a record, since broken by Anesa Kajtazovic, as the youngest woman elected to the legislature. And no one really expected her to retire - an odd term to use for a 32 year old - days before the 2010 filing deadline.

Republican Ross Paustian had never stopped running. He was briefly reported as a winner on Election Night 2008, but absentees put Gayman over the top. Democrat Sheri Carnahan made a serious 2010 effort, but Paustian won with 57%.

The district keeps almost the same lean, a very slight D tilt, on paper. That should help former senator Frank Wood, who is attempting a comeback on the House side. Wood, who announced June 15, narrowly (480 votes) knocked off Republican incumbent Bryan Sievers in 2004 despite the GOP trend, before falling to Hamerlinck in 2008 despite the Democratic trend. Wood ran county-wide in 2010, losing a supervisor race but running slightly ahead of the other two Democrats in a vote-for-three swept by the GOP.

As for the lines, the city portion shifts north (losing all its riverfront) and east to roughly Highway 61. Out in the county Paustian keeps very similar lines, and most of the county west of Davenport. He loses Buffalo and gains the city of Donahue, and keeps Eldridge, Long Grove, Walcott and Blue Grass.

Paustian for State House was off to an early money lead, with $16,596 on hand on the January 19 report to Wood for State House's $4432.

Original post 6/27/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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