Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 5, Iowa House District 9 & 10

Senate District 5
Registration: D 12757, R 13356, N 16515, total 42659, R +599
Incumbent: Daryl Beall, D-Ft. Dodge; holdover seat

Beall won a third term in 2010 in old district 25 with 54%. Beall loses about 900 Democrats and gets a slightly Republican district that votes on the lower turnout gubernatorial cycle. The new seat keeps Ft. Dodge and Calhoun County but loses Greene County to the south and instead goes north into Pocahontas and Humboldt. Beall has till 2014 to get to know
those new constituents.

People for Beall finance reports

The Senate district is polarized between a Democratic half and an equally GOP part.

House District 9
Registration: D 7645, R 5535, N 7081, total 20278, D +2110
Incumbent: Helen Miller, D-Ft. Dodge; rematch of 2010 race

This is what I call The District Draws Itself: Iowa law requires that cities and counties be kept whole whenever possible. An ideal House District size is 30,538, and when you have a city or county just short of that size, it dominates whatever else is combined with it. The Ft. Dodge census population is 25,206, so that pretty much settles things. Miller keeps her entire old district, which she's held since 2002, and adds three townships to balance the population and maintain roughly the same Democratic edge.

Miller won with a surprisingly close 52% last time in one of those Some Dude near-miss races that was on nobody's radar. Miller had won easily since her first win in 2002, with a typical 60% in 2008. Yet Matt Alcazar, a tea partier who had started out running as an independent before switching to the GOP line, almost pulled it off in the zeitgeist that was 2010.

With a more than 2000 registration edge for the Democrats, this isn't completely out of reach but Alcazar's 2010 performance is probably close to the high water mark.

House District 10
Registration: D 5112, R 7821, N 9434, total 22381, R +2709
Incumbents: Tom Shaw, R-Laurens (Dave Tjepkes, R-Gowrie, retiring); Primary challenge

Tea partier Tom Shaw, who first announced his 2010 run as an independent, won an epic primary and beat Stephen Richards, the main-chance doctor who had fallen only 42 votes short of conservaDem Dolores Mertz in 2008. Shaw then took over with ease in the general as Mertz retired.

Shaw got paired up with five-term leadership favorite Dave Tjepkes, who didn't announce his retirement till January 10. Shaw had a reputation for working across party lines that may have actually disadvantaged him; there were rumors of a primary challenge even before Map Day.

So he's gone, but there's still going to be a primary here. Former University of Iowa student government president Maison Bleam announced his candidacy as "a different style of principled constitutional conservative." That's a polite way of saying that Shaw's taken the hard-right approach along with fellow freshmen Glen Massie and Kim Pearson.

Bleam is also playing the age card; it's interesting to me that conservatives, at this level of office, have generally been more willing to vote for young people and that they generally do a far better job of subsidizing their young ones -- check those resume bullet points on Bleam -- than my team. Still, this race seems like a heavy lift against an incumbent who won two hard-fought 2010 races and held off Tjepkes.

Shaw keeps his native Pocahontas County and Humboldt, but loses the city of Algona and southern Kossuth. He picks up Calhoun and part of rural Webster from Tjepkes.

No Democratic names here yet; their best shot was probably with the open seat last cycle.

Campaign finance report: Committee to Elect Tom Shaw

Original post 4/29/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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