Sunday, August 19, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 41, Iowa House District 81 & 82

Senate District 41
Registration: D 14188, R 11175, N 11453, total 36859, D +3013
Incumbent: Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa; holdover seat

Mark "Chickenman" Chelgren, whose claim to fame was his party hardy RAGBRAI persona, was the fluke of the year in 2010, emerging from a recount with a ten vote win over Bloomfield Democrat Keith Kreiman. He rolled up the margin in three whole rural counties: Appanoose, Davis, and Wayne. The line changes cut out the latter two and send him east toward blue-trending Fairfield. Senator Chickenman will have a tough ride in 2014.

House District 81
Registration: D 8220, R 4397, N 5527, total 18154, D +3823
Incumbent: Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa

The district Draws Itself: At 25,023, the city of Ottumwa is 82% of the size of a House district. In 2002 Gaskill, the former county auditor, won a close primary and settled in.
Republicans made a serious effort in 2010 with Jane Holody; even Mike Huckabee took an interest. But Gaskill earned a 57% win, probably the low point for this seat.

Ottumwa trended Republican the last two cycles with Mariannette Miller-Meeks on the ballot, Republican enough for Chelgren's fluke win. But with MMM not running, I expect Wapello County to trend blue again.

Young Republican Blake Smith easily defeated former (`08) independent candidate Rick McClure in the primary, 75-25%.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Gaskill for State Representative, Smith for Iowa House Gaskill has $7,868.82 on hand to Smith's $1,106.10.

House District 82
Registration: D 5968, R 6778, N 5926, total 18705, R +810
Incumbent Curt Hanson, D-Fairfield

Fairfield was the center of the Iowa political universe in late summer 2009, when this seat opened up for a special election. Anti-marriage equality groups pumped huge amounts of out of state money into Fairfield, and Democrats responded with an all-out effort as well. Retired drivers ed teacher Curt Hanson prevailed by just 127 votes, and less than 50%, over Republican Steve Burgmeier. Two independent conservative candidates were in the race, and they drew more votes than the difference.

The rematch in the fall of 2010 was just the two of them. Despite the lack of Splitters!, the annus horriblis for Democrats and the fact that he was now just one of 100 races instead of the only game in town, Hanson increased his margin over Burgmeier to more than 1000 votes.

While the lines change, the party balance is about the same. The new district has all of Van Buren and most of Jefferson County, including Fairfield, from Hanson's old seat, and only Davis from fellow Democrat Kurt Swaim's. The redistricting pair was resolved when Swaim retired.

Bloomfield's James Johnson lost to Swaim by just 76 votes in 2010. Campaign for Liberty activist Jeff Shipley of Fairfield, who ran for Iowa City council in 2009, filed for the primary but withdrew by the deadline.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Johnson for St Rep, Curt Hanson for State Representative The incumbent has the money edge with $7,043.30 on hand; Johnson has $1,609.54.

Senate District 41, House District 81 & 82: District of the Day 1 - 6/20/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

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