Sunday, March 16, 2014

All The Legislative Races

I think this is the fifth cycle I've done this bit: an extremely brief look at every legislative race. (I got more elaborate last cycle with District Of The Day, still a handy reference.)

I leave the top of the ballot races to other writers. And my district numbers below are simplified but a good comparison: Active registrations as of March 1, with "Most Democratic" measured by D Minus R. I'm of the school that so-called "independents" break the way the partisans do. Unlike last cycle, I left out the holdover Senate seats. And I ran out of ways to say "unopposed" by about House 80. Links go to maps.

Senate District 1
Registration: D 8510, R 18657, N 13760, total 40956, R +10147
David Johnson (R) incumbent

Senate District 3
Registration: D 9229, R 15927, N 13227, total 38435, R +6698
Bill Anderson (R) incumbent

No contests in these deep red seats. All the excitement was years ago and outside the ballot box: the map coaxing a retirement out of Democrat Jack Kibbie who was paired up with Johnson, and Anderson clearing the field in 2010.

Senate District 5
Registration: D 11107, R 11980, N 14913, total 38042, R +873
Daryl Beall (D) incumbent

Beall faces Republican Tim Kraayenbrink in a top tier race. Beall's personal popularity should overcome the narrow on-paper Republican edge.

Senate District 7
Registration: D 11468, R 8748, N 10054, total 30330, D +2720
Rick Bertrand (R) incumbent

Republican incumbent Rick Bertrand won a contentious to the point of litigious race by just a couple hundred votes in the 2010 wave, so he has a target on his back in this Democratic leaning seat. Two Democrats are facing off to face him: Jim France and Maria Rundquist. Both lost Sioux City council races last year. Rundquist is a leading activist in the Hispanic community and maybe could help boost Woodbury County's historically low turnout.

Senate District 9
Registration: D 9632, R 13967, N 12577, total 36219, R +4335
OPEN Nancy J. Boettger (R) incumbent, retiring

Smooth handoff: House 18 Rep. Jason Schultz announced here the same day Boettger retired, no one else filed.

Senate District 11
Registration: D 8633, R 18466, N 13873, total 40997, R +9833
OPEN Hubert Houser (R) incumbent, retiring

Looks like a farms vs. exurbs race in the southwest corner. Tom Shipley of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association faces Art Hill, finance director for the city of Council Bluffs in a decisive primary in the state's second most Republican district. Hill lives in the tiny piece of the city of Council Bluffs proper that is outside Mike Gronstal's district.

Senate District 13
Registration: D 12197, R 14017, N 14405, total 40671, R +1820
Julian B. Garrett (R) incumbent

Senate 13 is looking way less interesting than it did six months ago. Kent Sorenson alienated almost everyone and put the future of the caucuses at risk by getting bought off not once, but twice. Dems were hoping the fatally damaged Sorenson would stay viable just long enough to get through a primary.

But Sorenson resigned, defiantly, in the fall.  Republicans nominated their least crazy candidate, Rep. Julian Garrett, over three others, and he easily beat ex-Rep. Mark Davitt for the Dems.

Garrett will face Iowa Public Health Association president Pam Deichmann in the fall. She was the Democratic nominee in the House special to replace Garrett, but lost 70-30% to Stan Gustafson in January.

Senate District 15
Registration: D 14234, R 12395, N 13591, total 40262, D +1839
OPEN Dennis H. Black (D) incumbent, retiring

Every year there's a deadline week surprise. This year it was Democrat Dennis Black stepping down in Newton-Altoona Senate 15 after 32 years in the legislature. Former Newton Mayor Chaz Allen promptly announced for the Democrats, making me think this has been in the works for a bit. The GOP field is Mitchellville mayor Jeremy Filbert and Crystal Bruntz, an HR executive with Kum & Go. Two other candidates sidetracked to the district's two House races.

Senate District 17
Registration: D 15794, R 6631, N 10359, total 32888, D +9163
OPEN Jack Hatch (D) incumbent, running for governor

Already the ugliest primary in the state. Ned Chiodo is challenging Tony Bisignano's nomination because of a January OWI; even if the challenge fails it keeps the legal trouble in the spotlight. They play rough on the south side. Nathan Blake is also in the race for this absolutely safe Democratic district.

Senate District 19
Registration: D 12034, R 15464, N 13498, total 41076, R +3430
Jack Whitver (R) incumbent

Whitver has served four full sessions but this is his first general election. He won a hurry-up special when Larry Noble resigned to take a Branstad administration job in January 2011.
(Glossary: A "hurry-up special" is either between the general election and the legislative session, or during the session itself. It has a very short timeline. You can go from vacancy to swearing in within less than a month.) No Democrat filed; Whitver won the 2011 special 2 to 1.

Whitver faces a nuisance primary against perennial candidate Brett Nelson. In 2012 Nelson lost a House Republican primary to Kevin Koester 85-15%, and, undeterred, lost to Koester again as an independent in the general. (He also lost a primary to Koester in `08.)

Senate District 21
Registration: D 16045, R 11875, N 11424, total 39462, D +4170
Matt McCoy (D) incumbent

This district is less Democratic than the one McCoy last won in 2010, but Democratic enough that the Republicans aren't fielding anyone. Question: If Tom Latham had retired earlier, before everyone had committed to Staci Appel, would Matt be in a different race?

Senate District 23
Registration: D 11226, R 8995, N 13294, total 33694, D +2231
Herman C. Quirmbach (D) incumbent

This one's interesting. Republicans recruited Ames city council member Jeremy Davis, who stepped down from the city council for the race.The numbers ate good for Dems, but they sensed some vulnerability for Quirmbach.

So did Democrat Cynthia Oppedal Paschen, who is primarying Quirmbach. Like Iowa City, Ames has a tradition of electing female legislators, and some folks were miffed when Quirmbach narrowly beat Karen Bolluyt in the 2002 primary on the retirement of Johnie Hammond (additional history: Johnie is female). Add to that the committee confrontation between Quirmbach and Republican Amy Sinclair, and it seems like Quirmbach might have a problem here. “I usually can appreciate the way Herman votes," says Paschen bluntly, "but sometimes he’s not the easiest to get along with.” 

Senate District 25
Registration: D 8559, R 15721, N 15021, total 39347, R +7162
Bill Dix (R) incumbent

The Minority Leader is in District 25. But 26 is the number he wants. He won't have to spend any time on his own uncontested race. With these numbers, he wouldn't need to even with an opponent. Biggest obstacle to a second term was redistricting, but paired-up co-incumbent Rob Bacon got the hint and switched over to the House in 2012.

Senate District 27
Registration: D 11013, R 12605, N 16137, total 39787, R +1592
Amanda Ragan (D) incumbent

Republicans Shawn Dietz (an ex-mayor) and Timothy Junker (a former sheriff) face off in to oppose Ragan in the most Republican seat held by a Democrat. But she won her first race on tougher turf than this.

Senate District 29
Registration: D 14701, R 10326, N 17152, total 42220, D +4375
Tod Bowman (D) incumbent

Bowman is making his first re-election run on much-changed turf in Senate 29. He keeps his Maquoketa base but instead of going south into Clinton he goes north into rural Dubuque County. In the Clinton-based old district he was a 71 vote winner in 2010, becoming the only Democratic freshman that year.

In the Republican primary, Some Dude James Budde of Bellevue faces former Dyersville mayor Jim Heavens, who lost the 2010 state treasurer primary and his 2013 re-election race.

Senate District 31
Registration: D 15579, R 6173, N 13411, total 35212, D +9406
William A. Dotzler Jr. (D) incumbent

Nothing going on here in Waterloo, in the second most Democratic seat.

Senate District 33
Registration: D 15161, R 10231, N 13741, total 39232, D +4930
Robert Hogg (D) incumbent

Hogg will also coast into a third term with no opposition as yet.

Senate District 35
Registration: D 15358, R 8335, N 15003, total 38779, D +7023
Wally E. Horn (D) incumbent

The senior legislator, Democrat Wally Horn, shows no signs of stepping down. That didn't deter Lance Lefebure from filing in the Democratic primary. Here's the twist: Lefebure was a late starting 2012 House candidate in half of this district - as a REPUBLICAN challenging Todd Taylor. He's the first opponent Horn has seen, primary or general, since 1990. James Lynch looks at it.

Senate District 37
Registration: D 14566, R 9725, N 13478, total 37859, D +4841
Robert E. Dvorsky (D) incumbent

Dvorsky's district gets less blue as he gains Cedar County, but he's still solid enough that no one bothered to challenge him.

Senate District 39
Registration: D 12225, R 12408, N 14799, total 39482, R +183
OPEN Sandra H. Greiner (R) incumbent, retiring

Two primaries in a swing seat that's critical to both parties. Not counting the next race below, this is the best chance for a Democratic gain.

In the Democratic primary, Kevin Kinney of Oxford faces Rich Gilmore of Washington. Kinney is a deputy sheriff and school board member, Gilmore a former party chair who's lost a supervisor race.

The winner faces one of three Republicans. Mike Moore of Washington runs a care center and has been on school board and city council. He faces former Tiffin mayor Royce Phillips and Bob Anderson, a GOP state central committee member and former Johnson County Republican chair.

Senate District 41
Registration: D 13608, R 10546, N 11951, total 36188, D +3062
Mark Chelgren (R) incumbent

The most Democratic seat held by a Republican is Senate 41. Mark "Chickenman" Chelgren, best known for naked RAGBRAI rides, caught the wave and blindsided Democrat Keith Kreiman by 10, count `em 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 recount 'em 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 freakin' votes in 2010.

Chickenman has had a target on him from Day One, and hasn't changed an abrasive style. He's got two Democratic challengers: former Ottumwa superintendent Tom Rubel and long time county supervisor Steve Siegel.

Senate District 43
Registration: D 19658, R 7411, N 15763, total 43113, D +12247
Joe Bolkcom (D) incumbent

My senator has the most Democratic district in the state and has never seen an Republican opponent (an independent tried once).

Senate District 45
Registration: D 14830, R 6992, N 15691, total 37560, D +7838
Joe M. Seng (D) incumbent

Seng's record is too conservative for this deep blue district, and he made a lot of enemies with his a bizarre 2012 primary challenge to Dave Loebsack, which he lost 80-20%. Now he has a primary challenger of his own in Senate 45... but not the viable progressive we were hoping for. Some Dude Mark Riley was Seng's Republican opponent in 2010, then ran against Rep. Cindy Winckler as an independent in 2012. I'd probably still vote for him over Seng anyway.

Senate District 47
Registration: D 12278, R 14249, N 17168, total 43748, R +1971
Roby Smith (R) incumbent

Smith is the first Republican to escape a primary in the Bettendorf district in a couple cycles. (David Hartsuch knocked off Maggie Tinsman in 2006, but lost to Smith in 2010.)  Democrat Maria Bribriesco lost a 2012 House race to Linda Miller, but scored a respectable 44.5% in the tougher half of the Senate seat.

Senate District 49
Registration: D 12450, R 9760, N 16668, total 38914, D +2690
Rita Hart (D) incumbent

This was the only odd-number seat with no incumbent after redistricting, so Clinton Democrat Rita Hart ran for a shortened two year term in 2012. Now with the seat back on the governor year cycle, she faces Clinton County Republican supervisor Brian Schmidt.

House District 1
Registration: D 3223, R 11833, N 6023, total 21093, R +8610
OPEN Jeff Smith (R) incumbent, retiring

Kevin Wolfswinkel primaried Smith from the right and from the new turf in 2012, and came close with 45%. Smith got the hint and retired. Wolfswinkel now faces Kevin Klaassen and John Wills in the #2 Republican district. 

House District 2
Registration D 5287, R 6824, N 7737, total 19863, R +1537
Megan Hess (R) incumbent

This is the least red district in this corner of the state but Hess comfortably beat a good Democratic candidate in 2012 when the seat was new. That was enough to avoid any 2014 competition.

House District 3
Registration D 3494, R 9791, N 6572, total 19878, R +6297
Daniel A. Huseman (R) incumbent

Huseman last saw an opponent in 2008 (he only won 58% but his new turf is redder). His biggest headache was redistricting, solved when Royd Chambers retired after they were paired up. Huseman's Democratic opponent this year is Greg Fritzche of Primghar. He ran for O'Brien County supervisor and lost, badly, in 2012. He's likely to lose badly again in the third most Republican seat in the state.

House District 4
Registration D 1467, R 13090, N 3420, total 17994, R +11623
Dwayne Alons (R) incumbent

I have trouble believing there's even THAT many Democrats in this seat, the most Republican in the state. There certainly aren't any who'll run for this.

House District 5
Registration D 3931, R 8908, N 6790, total 19649, R +4977
Chuck Soderberg (R) incumbent

A Some Dude ran against Soderberg in maybe 2008 and lost about 85-15%.

House District 6
Registration: D 5298, R 7019, N 6437, total 18786, R +1721
Ron Jorgensen (R) incumbent

Jorgensen had a serious primary from Matthew Ung in 2012 but gets a bye this time.

House District 7
Registration D 5556, R 6420, N 8037, total 20028, R +864
Tedd Gassman (R) incumbent

Democratic veteran and ex-policeman Dave Grussing of Armstrong is  challenging  Gassman, who knocked off Democrat John Wittneben by just 44 votes in 2012.

House District 8
Registration D 4705, R 7989, N 7157, total 19856, R +3284
Henry V. Rayhons (R) incumbent

Democrat Nancy Paule Huisinga, an RN from Clarion, will challenge Henry Rayhons.

House District 9
Registration D 6721, R 4772, N 6580, total 18087, D +1949
Helen Miller (D) incumbent

Miller had a close race in wave year 2010 from a guy who'd announced as an independent before filing as a Republican, but that looks like just a fluke now, as no Republican filed.

House District 10
Registration D 4386, R 7208, N 8333, total 19955, R +2822
OPEN Tom Shaw (R) incumbent, retiring

Shaw must have gotten lonely without his Krazy Kaucus pals Kim Pearson and Glen Massie, who each bailed in 2012 after one term. The primaries up here have been contentious - the other 2012 primaries were challenges from the right but Shaw was challenged by a moderate  - but this time former (1998-2002) Republican senator Mike Sexton walks into a nomination with no opposition. This was the old Dolores Mertz seat, but no Democrat filed.

House District 11
Registration D 4246, R 6851, N 7288, total 18397, R +2605
Gary Worthan (R) incumbent

Nothing interesting has happened in this seat since Worthan took over in a hurry-up special in 2006.

House District 12
Registration D 5754, R 6125, N 8518, total 20429, R +371
Daniel Muhlbauer (D) incumbent

Brian Best, a Carroll Republican, is challenging Muhlbauer, who's been blessed with weak opponents and a good family name in greater metro Carroll.

House District 13
Registration D 5411, R 4746, N 5194, total 15384, D +665
Chris Hall (D) incumbent

In Sioux City it looks like an easier race for Hall than last cycle when he was in the only two House incumbent general election race in the state against Jeremy Taylor.  GOP challenger Nick Noyes is a student and a Sam Clovis co-chair (See last definition here and see if it applies.) 

House District 14
Registration D 6057, R 4002, N 4860, total 14946, D +2055
Dave Dawson (D) incumbent

Sioux City Democrat Dawson won an empty House 14 seat in 201; it was basically Jeremy Taylor's seat district without his precinct. The Republicans don't have anyone yet.

House District 15
Registration D 5597, R 4137, N 5914, total 15678, D +1460
OPEN Mark Brandenburg (R) incumbent, running for county recorder

House District 16
Registration D 5117, R 5615, N 6140, total 16909, R +498
Mary Ann Hanusa (R) incumbent

Council Bluffs was a weak spot for Democratic recruiting in 2012 but this cycle they look stronger. 15 is the more Democratic of the two seats and the Democrats are running labor activist Charlie McConkey. Republicans have a primary between John Blue and Council Bluffs school board member Troy Arthur.

In House 16 attorney Marti Nerenston is challenging Republican incumbent Mary Ann Hanusa. Democrats have held both these seats with the last decade.

House District 17
Registration D 4930, R 7088, N 6732, total 18766, R +2158
Matt W. Windschitl (R) incumbent

Democrat Kenneth Mertes of Onawa hopes to put a silencer on Windschitl, the legislature's leading gun absolutist.

House District 18
Registration D 4702, R 6879, N 5845, total 17453, R +2177
OPEN Jason Schultz (R) incumbent, running for state senate

Steve Holt had a co-announcement when Schultz announced for the Senate, the very day Nancy Boettger retired. So I'll pick him as the favorite over student Dillon Malone of Dow City, "a young conservative guided by traditional values." Democrats are running Paul Thelen of Vail in this red seat.

House District 19
Registration D 4833, R 8229, N 8553, total 21640, R +3396
Ralph C. Watts (R) incumbent

Nothing to see here.

House District 20
Registration D 4844, R 6310, N 7441, total 18619, R +1466
Clel Baudler (R) incumbent

There were rumors that Republican state central committee Joel Kurtinitis, of the Big Liberty faction, was planning to primary Baudler, the legislature's biggest barrier to medical marijuana. That didn't happen, unfortunately, but Clel did get Democratic opposition from trails advocate Steve Roe of Panora.

House District 21
Registration D 3945, R 8290, N 7316, total 19567, R +4345
Jack Drake (R) incumbent

Democrat Tim Ennis of Corning, a farmer active in the National Farmer's Organization (the progressive alternative to Farm Bureau) is challenging Drake.

House District 22
Registration D 4688, R 10176, N 6557, total 21430, R +5488
Greg Forristall (R) incumbent

House District 23
Registration D 3846, R 9307, N 6198, total 19371, R +5461
Mark Costello (R) incumbent

House District 24
Registration D 3405, R 8363, N 5816, total 17598, R +4958
Cecil Dolecheck (R) incumbent

A whole lot of nothing in the state's southwest corner. No primaries, no Democratic candidates. All three of these seats saw primaries two years ago.

House District 25
Registration D 5727, R 7429, N 7419, total 20600, R +1702
Stan Gustafson (R) incumbent

The persistent Joan Acela is back, making her fourth try in House 25. The former Madison County supervisor lost the primary to Julian Garrett when the seat was open in 2010, primaried him again in 2012, then lost to Stan Gustafson at the nominating convention when Garrett went to the senate. So, naturally, she's now primarying Gustafson. The Democratic line is blank.

I may be wrong but there seems to be a Warren vs. Madison thing here, at least based on the past primary returns. Or maybe she just announced first and thinks that entitles her to the seat. (See House 73.)

House District 26
Registration D 6470, R 6588, N 6986, total 20071, R +118
Scott Ourth (D) incumbent

Democrat Scott Ourth of Warren County filed for a second term in House 26. Republican Eric Durbin of Indianola and Des Moines policeman James Butler are in for the Rs. Ourth is a strong candidate, but he lost in 2010 to tea partier Glen Massie so watch this space.

House District 27
Registration D 5017, R 5905, N 6212, total 17154, R +888
Joel Fry (R) incumbent

Fry knocked off Democrat Mike Reasoner in an unanticipated 2010 upset, then beat a Some Dude in the primary and an independent in the general last cycle. This term he appears to have a strong on paper Democratic opponent in Fred Diehl, mayor of Osceola.
House District 28
Registration D 5424, R 6820, N 7018, total 19277, R +1396
Greg Heartsill (R) incumbent

Republican Jon Van Wyk of Sully, it says here (residence has been an issue in this race) is primarying freshman Heartsill. Democrat Megan Suhr is making a second run. Suhr won 44% against Heartsill in the open seat 2012 race. UPDATE March 20; Residency was enough of an issue that Van Wyk dropped out, so the Heartsill-Suhr rematch is set.

House District 29
Registration D 7625, R 5404, N 6801, total 19839, D +2221
Daniel Kelley (D) incumbent

Newton Republican Patrick Payton initially announced for state senate but withdrew from that race. Instead he'll challenge Democratic incumbent Dan Kelley in this race.

House District 30
Registration D 6609, R 6991, N 6790, total 20423, R +382
Joe Riding (D) incumbent

Zach Nunn of Bondurant, who like Payton also started in the Senate 15 race, is challenging Altoona Democrat Joe Riding. This was the Geri Huser-Kim Pearson seat so weird stuff can happen.

House District 31
Registration D 7479, R 4364, N 5425, total 17297, D +3115
Rick Olson (D) incumbent

House District 32
Registration D 7642, R 2543, N 4436, total 14666, D +5099
Ruth Ann Gaines (D) incumbent

House District 33
Registration D 7672, R 3114, N 4981, total 15810, D +4558
Brian Meyer (D) incumbent

House District 34
Registration D 8122, R 3517, N 5378, total 17078, D +4605
Bruce L. Hunter (D) incumbent

House District 35
Registration D 7219, R 2092, N 4047, total 13393, D +5127
Ako Abdul-Samad (D) incumbent

House District 36
Registration D 9120, R 4971, N 5813, total 19963, D +4149
Marti Anderson (D) incumbent

That is a whole lot of uncontested races in a row right in the heart of Des Moines. Is there a strategery here? Let sleeping dogs lie and keep the eyes on the big prizes of governor, senator and US House?

Sure, those are all strong Democratic seats, but last cycle the Republicans recruited a whole mess o' Some Dudes and Liberty minions for these seats, sometimes from the convention audience. Sometimes they were even having primaries for the right to lose.

This Is Where Your District Went
Registration D 5721, R 8858, N 7232, total 21854, R +3137
John Landon (R) incumbent

Landon is seeking his second term in This Is Where Your District Went, known to people who don't read my blog as House 37. Landon finished third in a six way primary, with just 16.5%, when the district was new in 2012, but won the nomination 12 to 11 at a convention. I expected that would lead someone to seek a rematch but instead Landon will get his first primary win as a walkover. No Democrat yet either.

House District 38
Registration D 6313, R 6606, N 6266, total 19222, R +293
Kevin Koester (R) incumbent

His perennial primary challenger Brett Nelson want to lose to Jack Whitver in the Senate seat instead this year, so Koester draws a bye. This seat is right on the line for House control, #50 most Democratic, but they didn't field anyone.

House District 39
Registration D 5722, R 8725, N 7335, total 21829, R +3003
Jake Highfill (R) incumbent

Highfill was the only one of a dozen GOP primary challengers to knock off an incumbent (Erik Helland) in 2012. That was after he filed an ethics complaint charging that Helland had tried to nudge Highfill out of the race with a job offer.

But post-primary, stories surfaced about some scrapes with the law Highfill had in his not so long ago college days here in the People's Republic. The district's party demographics carried Highfill to a decent but not great win over an OK Democratic opponent, but it wasn't hard to anticipate a primary here.yet it's not a shock that someone sees an opportunity.

But Highfill is helped by drawing TWO opponents to split the vote: Urbandale teacher Jerry Kinder representing the grownups and Taylor Egly, recent Iowa chair of Young Americans for Liberty, representing the Pauls.  

House District 40
Registration D 6430, R 7417, N 6024, total 19900, R +987
John Forbes (D) incumbent

Surprised the Republicans aren't making an effort in this seat, one of the most Republican districts in Democratic hands.

House District 41
Registration D 9635, R 4819, N 5193, total 19708, D +4816
Jo Oldson (D) incumbent

See 31-36 Above.

House District 42
Registration D 6410, R 7056, N 6231, total 19754, R +646
Peter Cownie (R) incumbent

Democrat Daniel Fessler of West Des Moines, a recent Iowa State grad, is challenging Cownie.

House District 43
Registration D 6790, R 7543, N 5573, total 19941, R +753
Chris Hagenow (R) incumbent

Two Democrats face off for the right to challenge Hagenow: Cleaning service owner Nicholas Dreeszen of West Des Moines and Kim Robinson of Clive.

House District 44
Registration D 4478, R 7708, N 8537, total 20744, R +3230
Rob Taylor (R) incumbent

Democrats made an effort here in 2012 when the seat was new but Taylor won easily enough to scare off challengers.

House District 45
Registration D 5749, R 4481, N 6884, total 17192, D +1268
Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D) incumbent

House District 46
Registration D 5477, R 4514, N 6410, total 16502, D +963
Lisa Heddens (D) incumbent

All the action in Ames is in the Senate race as Heddens and BW-K get byes for now.

House District 47
Registration D 6061, R 6287, N 7725, total 20100, R +226
Chip Baltimore (R) incumbent

Baltimore upset Donovan Olson in 2010 and won the rematch in 2012 by a bigger margin. Two other Democrats are trying this time: Mark Trueblood and Hans Erickson.

House District 48
Registration D 5652, R 6716, N 7728, total 20120, R +1064
Rob Bacon (R) incumbent

Smart move: Instead of a nasty post-redistricting Senate primary against Bill Dix that he would have lost. Bacon gets to settle in and coast in an unopposed House re-election.

House District 49
Registration D 4622, R 6928, N 7829, total 19404, R +2306
Dave Deyoe (R) incumbent

Democrat Kevin Ericson of Maxwell wants a rematch. Deyoe won round one 60-40 in 2012.

House District 50
Registration D 3937, R 8793, N 7192, total 19943, R +4856
Pat Grassley (R) incumbent

Grundy Center Democrat Doris Fritz is challenging Pat Grassley in red turf in House 50. Democrats had no candidate last cycle.

House District 51
Registration D 5356, R 6156, N 7813, total 19338, R +800
Joshua Byrnes (R) incumbent

Laura Hubka of Riceville is the Democrat challenging Byrnes.

House District 52
Registration D 6255, R 5021, N 8822, total 20112, D +1234
Todd Prichard (D) incumbent

Prichard is going into his first general election cycle in House 52. He was a comfortable special election winner when Brian Quirk quit immediately after getting re-elected in 2012, and for now that's scared off any opposition.

House District 53
Registration D 6883, R 4430, N 8433, total 19760, D +2453
Sharon S. Steckman (D) incumbent

House District 54
Registration D 4130, R 8175, N 7704, total 20027, R +4045
Linda L. Upmeyer (R) incumbent

One red seat, one blue seat, and no opponents, with all the excitement in Amanda Ragan's Senate race. Republicans held Steckman's seat most of the 2000s; a 2012 challenge to Upmeyer fell through.

House District 55
Registration D 5114, R 6479, N 6893, total 18522, R +1365
OPEN Roger Thomas (D) incumbent, retiring

A long discussed retirement got Officially announced late, though the locals were well aware. Thomas held on in 2012 to keep this tough seat, which could be even tougher in a non-presidential year. Darrel Branhagen the Republican; Democrat Rick Edwards is the former  Decorah Parks and Recreation director.

House District 56
Registration D 5006, R 7012, N 7348, total 19374, R +2006
Patti Ruff (D) incumbent

With Thomas retiring, Patti Ruff now has the most Republican House seat held by a Democrat, the #76 Democratic seat. Yet she didn't get a Republican filing against her in the state's northeast corner. Ruff knocked off one term Republican Bob Hager in 2012, who knocked off one term Democrat John Beard in 2010.

House District 57
Registration D 7248, R 5826, N 8432, total 21528, D +1422
Nancy Dunkel (D) incumbent

Dunkel took over the rural Dubuque County seat, technically held by Republican Steve Lukan but heavily redistricted, in 2012 without a primary OR general election opponent. This time Republican Ryan Kilburg of Zwingle is challenging her.

House District 58
Registration D 7453, R 4500, N 8720, total 20692, D +2953
Brian Moore (R) incumbent

Retiring Maquoketa superintendent Kim Huckstadt (male) is the Democratic challenger to Brian Moore in House 58, the most Democratic seat (22nd best) held by a Republican.

House District 59
Registration D 5335, R 5049, N 7634, total 18096, D +286
Bob M. Kressig (D) incumbent

Rick Giarusso, a Cedar Falls Republican, is challenging perennial target Kressig.

House District 60
Registration D 5764, R 6812, N 7876, total 20476, R +1048
Walt Rogers (R) incumbent

Rogers is going with Plan B after surprisingly ending his congressional campaign. He gets a primary challenge from Some Dude Jason Welch, who ran for the old 3rd CD in 2010, when he lived in Knoxville.

Hudson School Board member Karyn Finn is in for the Democrats in House 60, hoping to become - not obvious from her name - the first Latina legislator.  

House District 61
Registration D 6850, R 3827, N 6977, total 17676, D +3023
OPEN Anesa Kajtazovic (D) incumbent, running for Congress

The people who thought Kajtazovic was going to pull a Walt Rogers and drop back into this race seriously underestimate Anesa. Three Democrats are looking to replace the future congresswoman:  Timi Brown-Powers, Andrew Miller and Brad Condon. The winner draws Republican veteran Nathan Bolton.

House District 62
Registration D 8729, R 2346, N 6434, total 17536, D +6383
Deborah L. Berry (D) incumbent

With a temporary bump in Iowa City no party registration caused by last fall's 21 Bar vote, Berry can now claim the most Democratic district by registration in the state. This explains the lack of a Republican opponent. Enjoy it while it lasts, Deb: a hot local primary in Johnson will bump Lensing and Mascher's seats back up to the top in June.

House District 63
Registration D 4773, R 6255, N 9234, total 20284, R +1482
Sandy Salmon (R) incumbent

Salmon, a 2010 primary loser, beat former Senator Bill Heckroth, probably the strongest possible opponent, in November 2012. This year she faces Teresa Meyer of Waverly.

House District 64
Registration D 5534, R 4404, N 8363, total 18316, D +1130
Bruce Bearinger (D) incumbent

This seat was technically a Democratic gain for Bruce Bearinger last cycle. But the turf had changed a lot. Republican Dan Rasmussen retired at the last minute, and the GOP dropped the ball on candidate recruitment. Craig Johnson, head of the Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, is running on the GOP side in House 64. This could split on both party and geographic lines, with Bearinger from Oelwein.

House District 65
Registration D 8307, R 4363, N 6438, total 19157, D +3944
OPEN Tyler Olson (D) incumbent, retiring

How different would everything in state politics be today if Olson's run for governor hadn't crashed? Olson opted not to get back into his House race, where two Democrats were already running. Liz Bennett will face Cedar Rapids school board member Gary Anhalt. No Republican filed.

House District 66
Registration D 6854, R 5868, N 7303, total 20075, D +986
Art Staed (D) incumbent

Staed won one term in 2006, lost by 13 votes to Renee Schulte in 2008, then came back to beat Schulte in 2012 after the new map improved the turf. Schulte was frequenly rumored for a comeback or a run for something else, but no contest here yet.

House District 67
Registration D 5587, R 6776, N 8024, total 20425, R +1189
Kraig Paulsen (R) incumbent

Democrats made a game run at the speaker in 2012 with Mark Seidl, who has lost a 2010 race to Renee Schulte on worse turf. This cycle, there's no local opponent to distract him from working for his other candidates.

House District 68
Registration D 6411, R 6029, N 8174, total 20658, D +382
Daniel Lundby (D) incumbent

Freshman Democrat Daniel Lundby had a familiar name - his mom Mary was a legendary Republican legislator - and a district improved in redistricting, and knocked off GOP incumbent Nick Wagner in 2012. This time he'll face Republican Ken Rizer.

House District 69
Registration D 7353, R 3677, N 7437, total 18516, D +3676
Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D) incumbent

House District 70
Registration D 8005, R 4658, N 7566, total 20263, D +3347
Todd E. Taylor (D) incumbent

Quiet re-elections for the west Cedar Rapids incumbents.

House District 71
Registration D 5461, R 4985, N 6408, total 16865, D +476
Mark D. Smith (D) incumbent

Smith making his first run since taking over the House Democratic leadership after Kevin McCarthy's resignation last fall. Of course, Mark's real job is to elect 50 colleagues so he can move from minority leader to Speaker.

While his role is new his rival is all too familiar. Jane Jech (pronounced yeccch) is back for the fourth straight cycle. After losing to Smith in the 2008 and 2010 House races, she upset Larry McKibben in the 2012 Senate 36 primary, before going on to lose to Steve Sodders in a high priority race. All eastern Iowans remember the cheesy "No, Jane, no" ads that ran on broadcast TV that fall.

This cycle, Jech is back to challenge Smith again. Which begs the question: Most persistent loser on this year's ballot? Jech, Brett Nelson in Senate 19, Joan Acela in House 25, or West Branch David Johnson in House 73? All are on their fourth tries for the legislature. I'll have to go with Nelson because he's never won anything. Jech won community college board seat once, a tough primary in 2012 AND made it close in 2010, losing by just 300. Acela was a county supervisor and Johnson won a single term on the city council.

House District 72
Registration D 5475, R 6198, N 8093, total 19786, R +723
Dean Fisher (R) incumbent

Fisher won an open House 72 fairly easily in 2012 after the Democrats' preferred candidate couldn't get through the primary. This cycle, Iowa Veterans Home employee Ben Westphal got the full House Dems Press Release roll-out that serious challengers get. 

House District 73
Registration D 6304, R 5673, N 7553, total 19567, D +631
Bobby Kaufmann (R) incumbent

The ultimate in smooth handoffs in 2012 as incumbent Jeff Kaufmann announced his retirement on a Friday evening a week before deadline, then showed up at county conventions the next day with his son. But this was only half the battle. This is one of the best Democratic seats held by a Republican, #39 most Democratic, and thus critical to control.

But Democrats have been hurt here by in-fighting. The ugly primary last cycle didn't end once it was over. (I'll spare the statewide audience the local details.) That may or may not have changed the outcome, but Kaufmann won fairly comfortably for a first timer in a tough seat.

David Johnson of West Branch, the loser in that primary, has been running since Map Day in 2011 (barely stopping during the 2012 general), and is now making his fourth run, counting two in the 1990s: one as an independent and one as a primary challenger.

Johnson also argued, against his Johnson County based 2012 opponent, that only a Cedar County candidate can win here. So now there are two: former Cedar County supervisor Dennis Boedeker announced last week. Boedeker won three terms county-wide before stepping down in 2012.

House District 74
Registration D 8262, R 4052, N 5925, total 18292, D +4210
Dave Jacoby (D) incumbent

Jacoby's last opposition was a weird 2010 primary where the opponent dropped out and then back in; Dave prevailed by roughly 70 points.

House District 75
Registration D 5163, R 5743, N 8828, total 19755, R +580
Dawn E. Pettengill (R) incumbent

Pettingill will have opposition from Democrat Steve Beck of Belle Plaine; always a grudge match when a party switcher is involved. 

House District 76
Registration D 5513, R 6303, N 8600, total 20441, R +790
Dave Maxwell (R) incumbent

Former Grinnell school board president  Eric Pederson filed for the Dems in House 76, challenging GOP freshman David Maxwell, who won a close 53-47 race against Rachel Bly when the seat was new last cycle.

House District 77
Registration D 7377, R 5226, N 7864, total 20492, D +2151
Sally Stutsman (D) incumbent

Rumor was that 2012 Republican challenger Steve Sherman would try again, but that hasn't happened.

House District 78
Registration D 4848, R 7182, N 6935, total 18990, R +2334
Jarad J. Klein (R) incumbent

This is a frustrating one: Democrats WON this seat in 2008 with Larry Marek, but have failed to get even Some Dude opponents in 2012 and 2014.

House District 79
Registration D 3748, R 8995, N 6465, total 19228, R +5247
Guy Vander Linden (R) incumbent

Having gotten through a redistricting pairup, Vander  Linden can settle in for as long as he wants in this top ten GOP seat.

House District 80
Registration D 5981, R 6295, N 6722, total 19016, R +314
Larry Sheets (R) incumbent

Sheet narrowly beat Joe Judge of the Monroe County Judges in 2012 race when the seat was new.Democrats haven't got anyone yet this time.

House District 81
Registration D 7672, R 4122, N 5822, total 17634, D +3550
Mary Gaskill (D) incumbent

Republicans here are putting all their effort into trying to save Mark Chelgren, and are leaving Gaskill alone.

House District 82
Registration D 5936, R 6424, N 6129, total 18554, R +488
Curtis Hanson (D) incumbent

Jeff Shipley, a Republican state central committee member and liberty/Paulworld activist, is challenging Hanson. He filed in this seat last cycle but dropped out in time to get off the ballot. Jeff ran for the Iowa City council in 2009, getting through the primary but losing in the biggest landslide in city history as the two townies clobbered the two students. (I saw the blowout coming the minute filing closed, but endorsed him anyway.)
House District 83
Registration: D 8111, R 3229, N 6743, total 18108, D +4882
Jerry A. Kearns (D) incumbent

I'm running out of interesting things to say about uncontested races.

House District 84
Registration D 4464, R 7108, N 7216, total 18805, R +2644
David E. Heaton (R) incumbent

When Mt. Pleasant auto dealer Ralph Holmstrom filed, there was speculation that Heaton was stepping down after two decades. But no, this is a primary challenge. No Democrat.

House District 85
Registration D 10404, R 4096, N 8484, total 23150, D +6308
Vicki S. Lensing (D) incumbent

House District 86
Registration D 9254, R 3315, N 7279, total 19963, D +5939
Mary Mascher (D) incumbent

No Republicans in the Iowa City seats, the 2nd and 3rd most Democratic. Local Republicans will focus their efforts on Bobby Kaufmann, the Senate 39 race, and top of the ticket stuff.  Lensing drew an odd last second primary challenge from unknown Ron Varner. UPDATE: Varner tried to drop out but the paperwork arrived late. Then his papers were challenged and enough signatures were outside the district that he was removed from the ballot.

House District 87
Registration D 8673, R 3896, N 6268, total 18864, D +4777
Dennis M. Cohoon (D) incumbent

Cohoon won with under 50% in 2012 in a bizarre three way race where a sitting Democratic supervisor was running as an independent.  This cycle, the Republicans have yet to field an opponent. (Independents and third parties can't file till August.)

House District 88
Registration D 5773, R 5930, N 6854, total 18570, R +157
Thomas R. Sands (R) incumbent

Sands got a tough challenge last time from Sara Sedlacek, but has banking background and leadership position give him deep pockets in this low income district. Late Democratic efforts to recruit Danville mayor Roger Doofenschmirtz failed.

House District 89
Registration D 7151, R 4329, N 8475, total 19969, D +2822
Jim Lykam (D) incumbent

House District 90
Registration D 7679, R 2663, N 7216, total 17591, D +5016
Cindy Winckler (D) incumbent

Yet another pair of strong Democratic urban districts with no Republicans running.

House District 91
Registration D 5595, R 5608, N 7521, total 18744, R +13
OPEN Mark S. Lofgren (R) incumbent

Lofgren is vacating the seat for a congressional race that will almost certainly end at the hands of Mariannette Miller-Meeks. At one point there were briefly four candidates. Lofgren's daughter Emily quit, and Mark LeRette dropped out after losing his city council seat last fall.

That leaves HON executive Gary Carlson and Mark Cisneros,  owner of the Shop 2 Drop consignment store at the Muscatine Mall and "co-chair" (sic) for the Muscatine County Republican Party.

The winner faces John Dabeet, chair of the Muscatine Community College business department. Democrat Nathan Reichert held this seat from 2004-10 and the margin is very close.

House District 92
Registration D 5856, R 5542, N 8729, total 20139, D +314
Frank Wood (D) incumbent

Walcott Republican Ross Paustian is making a comeback attempt. He lost in a top-tier challenge to Democrat Elesha Gayman in 2008, won when Gayman stepped down in 2010, then lost to Frank Wood last cycle.

Wood got knocked out of the Senate in 2008 then came back to beat one-term rep Paustian in 2012.

House District 93
Registration D 6813, R 6068, N 8030, total 20943, D +745
Phyllis Thede (D) incumbent

Bettendorf rotary president Mark Ross is the Republican in House 93, challenging Democrat Phyllis Thede. She had a close race in 2010 then drew a weak 2012 opponent.

House District 94
Registration D 5465, R 8181, N 9138, total 22805, R +2716
Linda J. Miller (R) incumbent

Miller got a fairly tough race in 2012 from Maria Bribriesco but with Bribriesco in the Senate 47 race instead Miller ends up with her usual no opposition.

House District 95
Registration D 6356, R 6168, N 8243, total 20815, D +188
Quentin Stanerson (R) incumbent

A rematch: Democrat Kristi Keast of Mt. Vernon lost to Stanerson by just 200 votes in 2012.

House District 96
Registration D 4543, R 5763, N 8354, total 18668, R +1220
Lee Hein (R) incumbent

Hein has been unopposed since beating Democrat Ray Zirkelbach in 2012 when the district was bluer. He moved in 2011 to stay with this district after getting paired with fellow Republican Brian Moore.

House District 97
Registration D 5778, R 5941, N 9013, total 20751, R +163
OPEN Steven N. Olson (R) incumbent, retiring

n House 97, where Republican Steve Olson is retiring after six terms. Norlin Mommsen of DeWitt is in for the GOP. Democrats have a primary: Carl Boehl of LeClaire faces labor activist Jay Saxon of Camanche.Olson had a closeish 56-44 race in 2008 but was unopposed in 2010 and easily beat a late starter in 2012.

House District 98
Registration D 6672, R 3819, N 7655, total 18163, D +2853
Mary Wolfe (D) incumbent

Safe to say that no one in the legislature has had a harder stretch lately than Mary Wolfe, dealing with the violent death of her two sisters. So if anyone deserves a break, it's Mary, and she gets one with no opponent. Wolfe won a close race when the seat was open in 2010 and beat an independent in `12.

House District 99
Registration D 8583, R 4887, N 7278, total 20787, D +3696
OPEN Patrick Murphy (D) incumbent, running for Congress

House District 100
Registration D 7996, R 3625, N 6485, total 18144, D +4371
Charles Isenhart (D) incumbent

Again, no Republican legislative candidates in a heavily Democratic town where they were running Some Dudes in cycles past. (One of those Some Dudes almost beat Pat Murphy when he was a sitting Speaker in 2010.)

House 99, the Murphy seat, has already had an interesting race. Abby Finkenauer will face Steve Drahozal. A third candidate, Greg Simpson, dropped out at the county convention and endorsed Drahozal. It's Finkenauer's first run and, though he doesn't like to talk about it, Drahozal's second. He ran here in Johnson County in 2000 as a Libertarian. Here's more.

Isenhart draws no opposition, same as 2012.

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