Other States Have More Uncontested Races Than Iowa
Iowa Democrats may be kicking themselves for not finding a candidate in state Senate District 28. True, the rural stretch of Nebraska border between Sioux City and Council Bluffs is solidly Republican... but you never know what can happen.
Who would have figured that, just before the election, GOP incumbent James Seymour's 2002 arrest for soliciting prostitution would come to light?
Democrats can call that one a lost opportunity. But by and large, Iowa's major parties did a better job of filling spots on the state legislative ballot than parties in other states.
Seymour is one of 21 Iowa legislative candidates, including one open-seat Senate candidate, who have no opposition at all. Another two have opponents who have dropped out but remain on the ballot, and seven have independent or third party opponents only. That translates to 17 percent of races with no on-the-ballot choice, and 24 percent with only one active major party candidate.
But that's better than other states. Ballot Access News reports that over half of Illinois legislative races have only one candidate on the ballot, 78 percent of Georgia state house races have only one candidate on the ballot, and only 18 percent of Massachusetts state house races have a Democrat vs. Republican contest.
Presidential nominee Barack Obama and Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean have adopted a "50 state strategy" of competing everywhere, even in traditionally Republican areas. The strategy paid off with three special election wins earlier this year in open U.S. House seats, and has put some unusual states into play in the presidential race.
And long-shot candidates win sometimes; who would have thought a college professor with a beard could have toppled Jim Leach in 2006? But still, some races just fall between the cracks.
House District 22: Deborah Berry, D-Waterloo (won a primary challenge)
House District 24: Roger Thomas, D-Elkader
House District 25: Tom Schueller, D-Maquoketa
House District 30: Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville
House District 34: Todd Taylor, D-Cedar Rapids
House District 38: Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids (Republican opponent dropped out)
House District 42: Geri Huser, D-Altoona (won a primary challenge)
House District 48: Donovan Olson, D-Boone
House District 78: Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City
House District 88: Dennis Cohoon, D-Burlington
Senate District 2: Open Seat -- Dave Mulder retiring, GOP nominee Randy Feenstra was also unopposed in the primary
Senate District 26: Steve Kettering, R-Lake View
Senate District 28: James Seymour, R-Woodbine
Senate District 30: Pat Ward, R-West Des Moines
Senate District 32: Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale
House District 5: Royd Chambers, R-Sheldon
House District 6: Mike May, R-Spirit Lake
House District 51: Rod Roberts, R-Carroll
House District 82: Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf
House District 97: Rich Anderson, R-Clarinda
House District 98: Greg Forristall, R-Macedonia
Candidates with Inactive Opponents on the Ballot
House District 35: Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha
House District 79: Jeff Kaufmann, R-Wilton
Candidates With Third Party Opponents Only
Senate District 4: Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg ("Grassroots For Life" opponent)
House District 15: Brian Quirk, D-New Hampton (independent opponent)
House District 46: Lisa Heddens, D-Ames (Libertarian opponent)
House District 66: Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines (Green opponent)
House District 77: Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City (independent opponent)
House District 90: John Whitaker, D-Hillsboro ("4th of July Party" opponent)
House District 93: Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa (independent opponent)