Thursday, February 02, 2012

Brandenburg Moves Across Town

State Rep. Mark Brandenburg looks to have drawn the short straw in Council Bluffs. The GOP freshman will move across town and run for re-election in House District 15. This avoids a pair-up with fellow first term Republican Mary Ann Hanusa, who called dibs on House 16 months ago.

The new line across Council Bluffs puts all of the city's best Democratic precincts into 15, on the northern and western part of town and including that wonderful geographic quirk Carter Lake. It had a map day registration edge of 2100, as opposed to a narrow GOP edge in 16.
Tangent: The Secretary of State now has Feb. 1 voter registration stats posted for the new districts. But an important caveat: Except for the county numbers, the stats are for ALL registrations, not just the Active status registrations. This isn't a Schultz thing; the same thing happened in the Mauro Administration.

People really, really misunderstand Inactive voter status. It's NOT what a phonebanker would call "a weak voting Dem" who votes in presidential years only. It's a person who's had mail returned to sender to the auditor because they've moved. That is: it's people who are GONE. But under Motor Voter it takes two general election cycles to fully cancel them.

Including Inactives in the stats in general 1) overstates the size of urban and college districts. Note that Joe Bolkcom's Senate District 43, which includes the entire UI campus, has by far the highest registration, because of the inactives. 2) It also overstates the no-party percentage. That's because those voters are statistically the most likely to move and the least likely to promptly re-register.)

The other caveat is that counties by law have 45 days to get voter registrations from the caucuses entered, though I suspect most of it is done. There's also going to be a lot of voter card mailing in the next few weeks to inform voters of new districts and precincts, and that usually triggers a lot of registration changes and activity. People who crossed over for a sheriff primary eight years ago find out they're still Democrats, more cards get returned to sender meaning more inactivations, stuff like that.

At some point before legislative filing starts I'm going to try to figure out what numbers to use for the rest of the year and stick with them.
There's some overlap with the old Brandenburg turf, and he has city-wide name ID. He served on the school board, challenged Mike Gronstal in 2008, and knocked off Democrat Paul Shomshor in 2010. I still see this as a priority race for both sides, if only because of its neighbors on the ballot: the Gronstal senate race and Latham-Boswell.

Brandenburg's move appears to resolve the last House pair-up in the state. We started on Map Day with 27 House members in 13 districts (there was one triple-up). With four moves and eight retirements (I've yet to see a Stew Iverson retirement statement but that seems to be the consensus) we're left with just two pairs: The bi-partisan cross-town Sioux City slugfest between Democrat Chris Hall and Republican Jeremy Taylor, and the even more epic Pat Grassley-Annette Sweeney GOP primary.

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