Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Garrett win means another special election

Not a surprise last night as Republican Rep. Julian Garrett easily defeated Democratic ex-Rep. Mark Davitt to move up to the Senate 13 seat vacated by the scandalized Kent Sorenson.

This seat never seemed to be on the front burner for Democrats the way the Liz Mathis race was in late 2011. It was a GOP held seat, of course, and we all knew our best shot at taking back the seat that was in Democrat Staci Appel's hands from 2006-10 was if the toxic Sorenson had somehow survived to make it to next November's ballot.

Garrett's win sets up yet another special election for the House 25 seat he's vacating. (Given the ease of his 60-40 win, you wonder why he didn't take the high road and save the cost by resigning so the elections could be combined, the way Bob Dvorsky did when he went from the House to Senate in 1994.)

This is the more Republican half of the district, based largely in Madison County. There was a Madison vs. Warren dynamic in the last two primaries, as Garrett was Warren-based. On the Republican side we're likely to see some of the same faces we've seen the last two primaries and nominating convention. As for the Democrats, Davitt was from the other half of the district, as was the only other name mentioned for the Senate Race, Scott Ourth.

Within five days after Garrett resigns, Terry Branstad sets the election date, and he has to give at least 40 days notice. Assuming a canvass and resignation next week, and since the legislative session starts Monday, January 13, that almost certainly makes the date January 7. Maybe the 14th if they can't get things done fast enough.

That means a convention and election process running through the heart of the holidays, disadvantaging anyone with less name ID and complicating the absentee efforts so often critical in low turnout specials.

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