Saturday, August 18, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 20, Iowa House District 39 & 40

Senate District 20
Registration: D 11664, R 16185, N 11692, total 39579, R +4521
Incumbent: Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, unopposed

Map Day had bad news and good news for Brad Zaun. The bad news was that Tom Latham moved in, scuttling any congressional ambitions Zaun may have still had after losing a hard-fought 2010 race to Leonard Boswell.

Boz beat Zaun up pretty bad on past personal stuff, and he might have been vulnerable this year in his old district lines. But the good news for Zaun is that he gets a better Senate seat. He loses a Democratic corner of Des Moines and instead adds Johnston and Grimes to his Urbandale base. It's a combination that makes more intuitive sense than the old hybrid urban-suburban seat. On Map Day, the registration numbers were -2,568 Republicans on the old turf, +3368 Republicans in the new district. Good enough that no Democrat bothered to file.

Zaun got some bonus points for loyalty at the end of the caucus cycle, stepping up as state chair of the sinking Bachmann campaign after Kent Sorenson jumped ship for Ron Paul.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Zaun for Iowa Senate

House District 39
Registration: D 5400, R 8491, N 6248, total 20162, R +3091
Open seat: Incumbent Erik Helland, R-Johnston, defeated in primary

Be careful what you wish for, primary voters, you might get it...

I never, never, NEVER would have pegged this as the ONE race where an incumbent knocked off. Young student Jake Highfill jsut seemed too Some Dude to knock off a sitting legislator.

But apparently, so the story goes, Helland was concerned enough that he tried to lure Highfill out of the race with a job. Instead of taking the bait, Highfill went to the press and the ethics committee, and the publicity was probably the key to his 52-48% win.

So Highfill was nominated as The Other Guy, and soon voters found out what they'd gotten:
A lawsuit filed against Iowa House District 39 Republican nominee Jake Highfill claims that he brought a shotgun to a college party, argued with his roommate during the event and smashed a glass bottle across the man's face, permanently disfiguring him...
When you're 22, you can't pass that off as "youthful indiscretion." Note that he was one of the few Republicans in solid districts left off the Business and Industry PAC endorsement list. He might win it anyway on straight tickets, but no one's gonna help much.

This is seat number 85 on the Democratic depth chart. But not only is this seat now in play, Team Blue is running a law student, and she has the maturity edge. Kelsey Clark of Grimes is at Drake, and as near as we know has no skeletons in the closet. It might be hard to win a second term in this seat, but an extra vote on the floor for even two years would be nice.
July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Kelsey Clark for State Representative, Friends for Jake Highfill Clark has $3,794.46 on hand but had only raised $700 in the post-primary weeks. Highfill is in the hole for $6100 in loans, spent on the primary, and has $1,923.57 on hand.

House District 40
Registration: D 6264, R 7694, N 5444, total 19417, R +1430
Open seat; Scott Raecker, R-Urbandale, retiring

An open GOP-leaning seat in Polk County, as House Appropriations chair Raecker steps down after 14 years. The district shrinks all the way into the Polk County part of Urbandale, which is now so big it has to be split between districts.

Each party attracted one candidate here. Democrat John Forbes of the Urbandale city council will face Republican fitness club owner Mike Brown.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Forbes for Iowa House, Brown for Iowa It's a financially competitive race. Forbes raised $7,414.99 in June and July and spent $6,398.79, with $6,935.34 on hand. Brown raised $8,575.00 in the post-primary weeks and spent $9,396.10, leaving $8,289.12 in the bank.

Senate District 20, House District 39 & 40: District of the Day 1 - 5/20/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/16/2012

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