Thursday, May 12, 2011

District of the Day: Senate District 14, House District 27 and 28

District of the Day: Senate District 14, House District 27 and 28

Senate District 14

Registration: D 12299, R 12921, N 14401, total 39645, R+ 622
Incumbent: Paul McKinley, R-Chariton UPDATE November 2: McKinley retiring.

The Senate minority leader is now getting his third district, with his native Lucas County the only constant. McKinley started out in 2000 by knocking off John Judge, who filled out the last two years of Patty's term when she was elected Secretary of Ag, in a sprawling six-county border district that ran from Bloomfield to Osceola. The district shifted north and added all of GOP-friendly Marion County and Mcinley easily won two more terms.

McKinley's new territory cuts the old Judge base in Monroe County out for the first time. He gets back Clarke and Lucas, which he had in 2000, and adds Decatur for the first time. To the north, McKinley keeps most of Marion County, but loses Pella. He keeps a small piece of Jasper County around Monroe and adds a little more to that piece: Sully, Reasnor, Lynnville, and all the way up to the Newton city limits.

The changes make McKinley's district significantly less Republican. He goes from a Republican voter registration edge of 3844 to a much more swingy 622. Isn't he the one who said redistricting is Iowa's version of term limits? In any case, McKinley briefly expressed higher ambitions in 2009 when he announced for governor, only to bail when Branstad came in to clear the field. Paul's in his early 60s so any ambitions need to happen fairly soon. But for the 2012 cycle I expect him to run again in the new seat in the hopes of picking up a couple senators and taking the majority.

House District 27

Registration: D 5913, R 6307, N 7046, total 19283, R+ 394
Incumbent: Joel Fry, R-Osceola

One of last year's upsets, Fry, 35, knocked off Democrat Mike Reasoner with a solid 57% win. Reasoner was from Creston and the old lines included most of Union County. The new district removes all of Union and keeps Decatur and Fry's home County, Clarke. It adds Wayne County and most of Lucas County including Chariton.

In addition to getting geographically bigger, Fry's seat gets a little closer partisan split. The old seat had a GOP registration edge of 791, and Reasoner managed to hang on for four terms. The new seat has about 400 fewer Republicans.

House District 28

Registration: D 6386, R 6614, N 7355, total 20362, R+ 228
Incumbent: Rich Arnold, R-Russell retiring, open seat

UPDATE October 27: Democrat Megan Day Suhr announces.

UPDATE May 18: Reader American007 cites Chariton newspaper report that Arnold is retiring. Knoxville Journal-Express:
“After careful consideration, I’ve decided not to seek re-election to the House. It’s truly been an honor and privilege to serve Iowans and to have been a part of Iowa’s citizen government,” said Arnold. “Meeting and working with my constituents has been one of the greatest pleasures of my experience as a representative. I appreciate all of the support, input and encouragement over the years.”
Maybe Van Engelenhoven has an escape route now?

Arnold was first elected in 1994 and his toughest scrape was getting paired in the 2001 map. The other guy, Jim Van Engelenhoven, moved and got paired again this time. He won with 67% in both 2008 and 2010. The new map changes the lines substantially. Lucas County gets split for the first time since Iowa started Clean Redistricting (TM) in 1981, and with Chariton going west to Fry's district, Arnold gets the smaller, eastern part: Williamson and his town, Russell. He loses his piece of Mahaska and all of Monroe County, which becomes the core of new, empty House 80. His chunk of Marion County expands, at Van Engelenhoven's expense, to take in Knoxville and almost the whole county (but not Pella), and he also gets part of southern Jasper. The changes cost Arnold 1000 Republicans and turn a good GOP district into a swing seat.

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