Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tuesday Week 2 Iowa Candidates

Lensing, Willems File Tuesday

Two greater Johnson County area legislators filed for re-election Tuesday.

Freshman Nate Willems (D-Lisbon) was a solid winner in 2008 when Ro Foege stepped down in House District 29 (half Linn, half Johnson). Republican Shawn Graham of Springville has announced but not yet filed.

My rep, Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City, basically the east side) is seeking a sixth term in House District 78. Lensing last had an opponent of any sort in the 2000 general election.

Elsewhere around the state:

Last September, Fairfield was the center of Iowa's political universe with the House District 90 special. Democrat Curt Hanson won, but with less than 50 percent. He's now filed for his first full term; between this race and Senate 45 (Becky Schmitz vs. probably Sandy Greiner), Jefferson County will once again be hot this fall.

Staci Appel (D-Ackworth) makes the re-election bid official in Senate District 37. She's high on the GOP target list as first term GOP Rep. Kent Sorenson is challenging.

One of 2008's narrowest winners, Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights) filed Tuesday. Hagenow beat top-priority Dem Jerry Sullivan by 93 votes in an open seat race.

Democratic freshman Phyllis Thede, after narrowly losing a 2006 Senate race to Dave Hartsuch, came back to knock off incumbent Jamie (the younger) Van Fossen with 56% in `08; she's filed for term two in House District 81. Her husband David Thede has announced a run against Hartsuch this time; maybe they can print last-name-only yard signs and split the bill. Someone check with Charlie Smithson at IECDB for the ruling on that one.

Clinton businessman and former school board member David Rose filed as a Republican in House District 26, where Democrat Polly Bukta is retiring. He's expected to face attorney Mary Wolfe, who's running with Bukta's support.

Republican Tom Sands had a closer than usual race in 2008 as Frank Best held him to 53% in Louisa-centered House District 87. Sands filed again and has apparently moved from Columbus Junction to Wapello. He's held the seat since redistricting in 2002.

Rep. Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) filed again in House District 43. Republican Jane Jech (43% in 2008) is again challenging but not yet filed.

Nancy Boettger (R-Harlan) is running again in sprawling five-plus county Senate District 29; she was unopposed in 2006 and an easy winner in 2002. One thing to remember about senators, just as an aside: redistricting means that the senators elected to "four" year terms this year could be on the ballot again in 2012, depending on how the deck gets shuffled.

House incumbents filing include, as I resort to a bulleted list:
  • Chuck Soderberg (R-LeMars, a three to one 2008 winner) in very very red House District 3;
  • Tom Schueller (D-Maquoketa, unopposed in 2008 and an easy winner in 2006) in House 25;
  • Erik Helland (R-Grimes, 61% in an 2008 open seat race) in House 69;
  • Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames; 58% 2008) in House 45;
  • Jack Drake (R-Griswold, 59% last cycle) in District 57 and
  • Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley), who hasn't seen a tough race since knocking off incumbent Paul Wilderdyke in the 2006 House 56 primary.

    Other notes: Charlotte Eby tweets and the Reg elaborates that conservaDem Dolores Mertz is retiring. A GOP primary had already emerged: former Pocahontas County Republican chair and tea party favorite Tom Shaw (who originally announced as an independent) vs. 2008 nominee Stephen Richards, who lost to Mertz by just 43 votes. The primary winner probably takes it, so the Dems lose a vote for control... and not much else.

    And of course everyone in the state is all over the shuffling in Sioux City, as the entire legislative delegation simultaneously decides not to run again.

    A correction from yesterday: At some point, somehow, with no good reason, I got it in my brain that Kevin McCarthy wasn't running again, and unfortunately that idea left my brain via my keyboard. My bad. Kevin did draw an opponent yesterday, but considering his 64% win over a former legislator last time, it's a pretty safe bet he'll still be around next January.

    Meanwhile, if these daily updates run a bit later in the evening, or even show up in the morning, just picture me quadruple-checking stuff.
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