Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Professor and the Fibbin' Fisherman

Despite strong evidence of invalid signatures, the statutory panel -- including, disappointingly, AG Tom Miller -- left improbably primary challenger Joe Seng on the ballot yesterday, buying his All Participants Get A Ribbon argument that he should get credit for trying: “It really sounded bad that I have a felon and people from Illinois and stuff like that, but that happens in every one.”

No it doesn't, Joe, and your scatter-shot organizational skills don't bolster your"qualifications."

And Paul McAndrew makes a big point:
McAndrew, the attorney who filed the challenge questioning Seng’s petitions, suggests the decision is inconsistent with the Republican secretary of state’s call for requiring Iowans to show a photo I-D when they vote.

“We are continuing to allow lesser protections and safeguards in this setting while we shout that we have to protect the election hall,” McAndrew said via phone during the panel’s meeting.

Imaginary voter fraud? Let's photo ID everyone! Rounds of drinks for petition signatures? I guess it's OK if you're an anti-choice, Obama-bashing "Democrat" in a nuisance, resource-wasting primary. Perhaps I'm being harsh. Yes, as he asserts, Joe Seng has the right to run for Congress. That doesn't mean he IS right to run for Congress.

So now 2nd CD Democrats have a choice between an Obama-basher and a man who has stood with the president since before the 2008 caucuses.

The best detail of this whole thing is the site of the shots for signatures scandal: the Fibbin' Fisherman. That's Seng's new nickname; personally I prefer bearded professors. It's going to be good sport the next couple of months, trying to get to the bottom of who's behind planting this idea in the egotistic head of Mister Double Honorific, Senator Doctor Seng.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday's Clip Show

If individual mandate gets overturned? Time to go back and get single payer like we should have.

But we gotta win some elections first.

What else we got here:

  • Multiple reports on yesterday's Joe Seng nomination petition hearing, and the Iowa City council is sure to take offense:
    Part of this drama involves a handful of signatures collected at a bar called the Fibbin’ Fisherman Lounge in Corydon. The Ottumwa veterinarian who was in the establishment to get those signatures for Seng has said he had to buy “many rounds of drinks” to get people to sign those petitions.
    Team Seng's case seems to be, yeah we screwed up but put me on the ballot anyway.
    “On a strict interpretation of that (election) statute we would fail. We don’t think that statute should be strict interpretation,” (attorney) Wonio said.
    Decision expected today.

  • In Sioux City, the Woodbury GOP chair is backing tea partyish primary challenger Matthew Ung over freshman incumbent Ron Jorgensen in House District 6.

  • If political scientists wrote the news it would look like this:
    At the same time, Obama's job approval rating fell to 48 percent. This isn't really news, though. Studies have shown that the biggest factor in a president's rating is economic performance. Connecting the minute blip in the polls with Obama's reluctance to emote or alleged failure to send enough boom to the Gulf is, frankly, absurd.

    Democrats have also slipped in their standing among "independent voters." That phrase, by the way, is meaningless. Voters may self-identify as "independent" but in almost all cases they lean toward one party.
  • And as Newt Gingrich lays off staff but vows to go on to the convention, Jeff Greenfield offers the best assessment yet:
    Gingrich's view of his current position reminds me of neither Harding nor Willkie. Instead, he evokes the Black Knight of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" fame. As his limbs are progressively hacked off, the knight declares "'tis but a scratch!" Then: "a flesh wound!" And finally: "Alright, we'll call it a draw."
    This analogy makes Mitt King Arthur, and the Democrats these guys:

    Now go away or Obama shall taunt you a second time.
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    A Ticket in a Primary?

    Estherville Daily News item:
    Dennis Guth of Klemme, who is running for the Iowa Senate District 4 Seat and Ted Gassman of Scarville, who is running for the Iowa House District 7 seat will be holding get acquainted meetings with citizens on Thursday, March 29.

    Both candidates will be at McDonald's in Estherville at 9 a.m. and at the Senior Citizens Center on the east side of Main Street in Armstrong at 7 p.m.
    What's interesting here is that both of these guys are in contested Republican primaries.

    Guth was the first Republican to announce, but he's been joined in the race by former senator Jim "Back In" Black, who served one year -- not one term, one YEAR -- in 1997 before resigning. Guth has a Tea Party rhetorical style, while Black appears to be Terry Branstad's recruit in this no-incumbent seat. The winner will run against Democrat Bob Jennings.

    Gassman -- who spells his first nickname Tedd on the ballot -- faces Mark Frakes of Forest City for the right to take on freshman Democrat John Wittneben. The rhetorical lines aren't as clear here, but my bet is the alliance with Guth means Gassman is the hard right guy.

    Keep an eye on the other half of the district, House 8. Incumbent Henry Rayhons is getting challenged from the right by minister Bob Dishman, and if he allies with Guth we have full-blown factional fighting in a five county area...

    Seng Hearing Set Today

    Ed Tibbetts of the QC Times seems to be the only one covering the details of the challenge to Joe Seng's congressional nomination papers and has another must-read today. The hearing is set for 5 PM:
    The attorney who filed the objection, Paul McAndrew Jr., said in an interview that he had heard the rumors Seng might run and decided to check out his

    petitions. McAndrew has retained an attorney for the case, Jeff Link of Des Moines, who also is an adviser to U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

    McAndrew claimed in the objection filed with the secretary of state’s office that Seng’s petitions were accepted with the minimum number of signatures for just 10 counties.

    McAndrew claims that while Seng turned in the minimum for three other counties, Scott, Wapello and Wayne, enough signatures on each are invalid so as to exclude him from qualifying.
    It's a sign of the sloppiness that's marked all things Seng that one of the problematic counties is his own Scott.

    I've known Paul for a long time and he's one of the best at this kind of law. He's done things like heading up the Democrats' absentee ballot protection efforts in Johnson. So if he's saying there's a problem, I'm inclined to think there's a problem.

    Is Paul McAndrew a leading and highly connected Democratic attorney? Sure. Does Joe Seng, as he asserts, have the right to run? Of course. But he doesn't have the right to get away with a half-assed or insufficient effort.

    My bet is McAndrew's challenge succeeds, we get a day of Loebsack Is A Big Blue Meanie stories, and then everyone focuses on the fall.

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Not Knocking Them Dead In Davenport

    Even leaving the problematic nomination papers out of it, the Joe Seng for Congress campaign is off to a rough start in Scott County. Check this QC Times piece for all sorts of non-support:
    Still, a primary challenge can sour fellow Democrats, which could affect his future. Tom Engelmann, who has been Seng’s campaign treasurer for years, said he’s supporting Loebsack in the primary and turned down a request to be Seng’s treasurer.

    Asked whether he would continue to be the treasurer for his state campaign, Engelmann says: “I don’t know what two years is going to bring. A lot depends on what happens between now and June.”
    Seng also doubles down on his anti-choice position.

    What else we got here:

  • Smart Politics reminds us of the Iowa-Mississippi No Women in Congress thing. Look to the bottom of the table. (Note: ND had a female senator, VT and DE had women as governor, and Alaska has has both a senator and, you may have heard, a governor.)

  • See, this is one of the things I hate about the objective paradigm in journalist: Journalists are expected to give up basic rights on their own time. Gannett is bent out of shape because some of their Wisconsin employees signed the Scott Walker recall petitions.

  • Local version of Million Hoodie March: 6:30 Ped Mall.
  • Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Someseng Wrong?

    Breaking late Friday: a challenge filed to Joe Seng's nomination papers.

    No official word yet on the reasons for the challenge -- Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Attorney General Tom Miller, and State Auditor David Vaudt are meeting Monday -- but my bet is it has to do with the county requirements.

    US House in a party primary has, relative to other offices, the highest bar to clear to qualify for the ballot. The standard is 1% of the party's top of the ticket vote in the preceding general election(president or governor depending on the cycle), plus 2% of that vote in at least half the counties. That meant, for a Democrat in the 2nd CD, 1277 names, plus 2% in at least 12 counties.

    It was that county requirement that tripped up the congressman Seng is trying to challenge, Dave Loebsack, in 2006. Problems with Louisa County petitions left him five names short. Since no other Democrat had filed, Loebsack was nominated at a party convention.

    There could be other issues, such as signatures from multiple counties on one page or insufficient addresses. But standard procedure is to gather way more names than needed, and Seng's last second effort clearly wasn't organized enough to do that.

    I heard reports that Seng was gathering signatures in Cedar County as late as Thursday night March 15, the night before the filing deadline, and that the papers were turned in to Schultz at either 4:58 PM or 4:59. (It's also been reported that a lot of the signatures were gathered at party conventions on Saturday the 10th -- Republican conventions.)

    Ballot access expert Richard Winger has argued that county requirements for nomination papers are unconstitutional, but that hasn't been tested in Iowa.

    Seng, for his part, isn't trying very hard to make his case: “The number count was pretty close in some places. There could be some mistakes.”

    Nor is the anti-choice Dem making a strong case for his candidacy:
    “He’s a good man,” Seng said (of Loebsack). “It’s just my right to run as a person. It was nothing against him.”

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    One Dropout At Deadline

    Today was the deadline for legislative/congressional candidates who filed for the June primary to drop out, and it looks like only one did.

    The Secretary of State's office posted a fresh candidate list after 10 AM today, and the lone deleted name is Fairfield Republican Jeff Shipley in House District 82. That cedes the GOP nomination to James Johnson of Bloomfield, who'll face Fairfield Democrat Curt Hanson in November.

    Johnson lost a very close race to Democrat Kurt Swaim in 2010. Swaim is retiring this year; he was paired up in redistricting with Hanson. As for Shipley, my local readers will remember his 2009 city council run here in Iowa City.

    Still suffering some writer's exhaustion since the Friday night blogathon; I'm in the researching stage of figuring out just who all these Republican primary challengers are.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Backlash in Carroll

    Newly announced candidate not exactly welcomed to the race: "Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers announced his campaign for the district 6 senate seat last Friday and since has heard a backlash from many Carroll residents and current city council members who have asked for him to resign."

    Schweers was just elected in November and took office with the new year -- just before ten year Senator Steve Kettering announced he was not seeking re-election. Two other R's in the race: Crawford County supervisor Mark Segebart, and Sac County sheriff’s deputy Matthew Biede. Primary winner faces Democrat Mary Bruner.

    Still, could be worse:
    Republican State Senate Candidate Stephanie Jones was arrested (shortly after 2:00 AM Sunday morning) after allegedly being involved in a fight. She has been charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

    Jones entered a plea of not guilty, and tells KNIA/KRLS News that she doesn’t understand why she was arrested. She adds that she will work to prove her innocence, and that she will continue her campaign for Senate.
    I don't usually write about stuff like this. I'm mostly brining it up because this is literally the first story I can find that mentions Jones' candidacy. No announcement press release, no local roundup, nuthin'. You google her and you get this, the candidate list at TheIowaRepublican, and then you're into stories about the late congresswoman from Ohio before you even get to my 30,000 word magnum opus from 1:30 Friday night/Saturday morning.

    Two other Republicans in the Senate 14 race, too: Amy Sinclair of Allerton and Steve Everly of Knoxville. Note to candidates: Tomorrow is the withdrawal deadline.

    And a sad note from the trail: Ft. Madison mayor Steve Ireland passed away today. Ireland had announced for the Democratic nomination in open Senate 42, but withdrew from the race before filing. Condolences to his family and friends and to the people of Ft. Madison.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 50, Iowa House District 99 & 100

    Senate District 50
    Registration: D 17961, R 9058, N 14461, total 41513, D +8903
    Incumbent: Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque; contested Republican primary

    Jochum moved smoothly over to the Senate in 2008 (a 70% win over Some Dude John Hulsizer Jr.) after 16 years in the House, when Mike Connolly retired. Her district Draws Itself, as Dubuque is 94.6% of ideal district size. To bring the population up, Sageville and the north chunk of the highly fragmented Dubuque Township are added. Redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering occasionally does work for the Dubuque city planning department; I count at least seven noncontiguous pieces of three different townships here.

    None of this really matters much in a Democratic stronghold like this. Hulsizer is running again. He's joined on the GOP primary ballot by Will Johnson, who ran a tea party type campaign in the 1st CD primary in 2010.

    Campaign finance reports: People for Pam Jochum

    The House district line across Dubuque pivots a bit, moving north in the west and south on the riverfront. Chuck Isenhart has the Loras campus and most of downtown, everything from the Illinois bridge north; Murphy has University of Dubuque and most everything south of Asbury Road.

    House District 99
    Registration: D 9267, R 5180, N 7637, total 22098, D +4087
    Incumbent: Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque; rematch of 2010 race

    Then-Speaker Pat Murphy was almost a victim of the 2010 zeitgeist. He'd won with a typical 69% in 2008, but Republican insurance agent Paul Kern held Murphy to 52-48 last year. It was Murphy's closest race since squeaking in by 91 votes in a 1989 special. Murphy took himself out as Democratic leader soon after the statewide results took him out as speaker.

    Kern is running again this year. 2010 may have been a wake-up call, but things should be better for Murphy now. Party leadership means a lot of campaigning for other people instead of yourself, and it also puts a special target on your back (ask Mike Gronstal).

    Murphy for State Representative is sitting on a $17,221 bank account; Paul Kern for State Representative had $4628 on hand, mostly left over from 2010.

    House District 100
    Registration: D 8694, R 3878, N 6824, total 19415, D +4816
    Incumbent: Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque
    Isenhart won a three way primary with a clear majority in 2008 when Jochum moved over to the Senate. He had a second primary from a Some Dude in 2010, winning with 86% Both of his general election wins were in the 60something range. So far this year, it looks like it's in the 100 percent range, with no primary or general opposition.

    Campaign finance reports: Isenhart Campaign for the Common Good

    Original post 7/01/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 49, Iowa House District 97 & 98

    Senate District 49
    Registration: D 13998, R 11017, N 18594, total 43634, D +2981
    No Incumbent; contested Democratic primary. Two year term.

    Odd-numbered seats normally run on the gubernatorial cycle, but this is the only odd number seat with no incumbent in residence on Map Day.

    Democrat Tod Bowman beat Republican Andrew Naeve by just 70 votes in 2010 in old Senate 13, to become the only freshman Democrat in the Senate. That seat included the city of Clinton and northern Clinton County. It went north to pull in all of Jackson County, where Bowman lives in Maquoketa. It also had a small piece of Dubuque County, up to the south city limits.

    The new district turns around and faces south. Clinton County is whole, and northern Scott County is included (including LeClaire, Princeton. McCausland and Park View). Thus a district that was maybe half Clinton County is now about 3/4, and a district that had a Democratic edge of 7,500 registered voters sees that lead cut in half.

    Bowman could have moved in and held over. But he wanted to stay with Jackson County. After what seemed like forever, his district-mate, Democrat Tom Hancock, retired, leaving this seat empty. (Bowman still gets to hold over in Senate 29.)

    Naeve didn't wait; he announced before the Bowman-Hancock pair had been resolved -- before we even knew if the seat would be on the ballot. In 2010, he won the Clinton County part of the district by about 500 votes, as Bowman rolled up his winning margin in Jackson.

    Former Clinton mayor Rodger Holm was a comedy factor here. He hinted at running on the GOP side, then dropped out of his mayoral re-election race, then dropped back in as a write-in.

    Once Bowman made his decision, two Democratic women joined the race: Rita Hart of Wheatland, a community volunteer and retired teacher, and Clinton attorney Dorothy O'Brien. The predecessor of this seat saw a four-way 2010 Democratic primary when long time incumbent Democrat Roger Stewart retired.

    Naeve for State Senate
    led fundraising on the January 19 report with $10,333 on hand. Dorothy O'Brien for state Senate had $2216, while Rita R. Hart for State Senate had just opened an account with $140.

    All things being equal, the Democrat would be favored over Republican Andrew Naeve, but Naeve made it extremely close against Bowman in a much bluer version of this seat.

    House District 97
    Registration: D 6319, R 6527, N 9756, total 22616, R +208
    Incumbent: Steve Olson, R-DeWitt

    What's the deal here? Steve Olson got a relatively close 56-44 race in 2008, but then went unopposed in a swing seat in 2010. This year, the seat gets a bit more Democratic, probably dead even when you figure GOP registration is artificially high right now post-caucus. But still no Democratic candidate.

    Olson went to the House in 2002 when the Clinton-Camanche area was redrawn. In Clinton County, Olson keeps Camanche, DeWitt and everything west. On the north, Lost Nation stays in the district and Delmar is added. The changes are marginal in Scott as Olson swaps a couple Bettendorf-bordering townships: Pleasant Valley is out, Lincoln is in. He keeps Le Claire, Princeton, and most of the Wapsi River border; Donahue and Long Grove are carved out and sent south to Ross Paustian's district.

    Campaign finance reports: Steve Olson for State Representative

    House District 98
    Registration: D 7679, R 4490, N 8838, total 21018, D +3189
    Incumbent: Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton

    When Democrat Polly Bukta retired in 2010 she backed attorney Mary Wolfe, who was nominated with no primary (in contrast to the four-way open seat Senate primary that Bowman went through). Republicans had the best circumstances they could get: an open seat, a good cycle, and a credible candidate in former school board member David Rose. But Rose fell 424 votes short, and no Republican has filed this year.

    Since we're in The District Draws Itself range (city of Clinton population=88% of ideal district size) there's little change in Wolfe's party margin. Continued population loss in the city means adding Low Moor (so small on the map scale that I had to read the legislation to see if it was in or out) and three small towns and townships on the Clinton-Jackson line: Charlotte, Goose Lake and Andover.

    Campaign finance reports: Mary Wolfe Campaign

    Original post 6/30/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 48, Iowa House District 95 & 96

    Senate District 48
    Registration: D 12220, R 13068, N 17711, total 43047, R +848
    No Incumbent; Contested Republican primary.

    House District 95
    Registration: D 6981, R 6722, N 8525, total 22267, D +259
    Open seat: incumbent Nate Willems, D-Lisbon running for Senate 48.

    New House 95 bears so little resemblance to the House 29 where Nate Willems won two terms that you can't even really call it the same district. The old district was a half Linn, half Johnson seat. This seat is all in Linn, and the only overlap is the Mt. Vernon-Lisbon metro area and Springville just to the north. It adds most of the rest of north and east rural Linn County -- basically, Palo, everything north of Robins, and the whole eastern border. Most of that was Kraig Paulsen's or Nick Wagner's. That makes up 90% of a House district; the southeast corner of Buchanan (Rowley and four townships) gets thrown in to balance the Census count.

    The Mt. Vernon-Lisbon area has been home base for several legislators in a row: Dave Osterberg, one-term Republican Lynn Schulte, and Ro Foege. Foege announced his retirement just before the 2008 filing deadline, and Willems won handily in 2008 and by a surprisingly narrow 53-47 in 2010. (Still, that's not bad in a GOP wave year; Foege lost essentially the same turf to Schulte in 1994, coming back to win in `96).

    Since Willems has to run on mostly new turf anyway, he may as well try for the move up. The other half of the Senate district includes Anamosa, where he grew up. So this district is good for him even though it's the very definition of a swing seat. On Map Day, the Democratic registration edge was ONE voter.

    In the Senate race, Republicans are having a primary. Farmer Dan Zumbach of rural Ryan was first to announce, followed by Brian Cook of Manchester, who appears to be a Some Dude. It might have gotten more complicated. Cindy Golding, the Republican candidate in the Senate 18 special election, lives in this district, not Senate 34, the true successor of the old Marion-based district. Golding said she'd seek re-election here rather than move, but after losing the special she endorsed Zumbach.

    Citizens for Willems had $56,460 on hand at the January 19 report; Dan Zumbach for Senate reported $18,009. Cook did not file a report.

    In the House 95 race, Republican Quentin Stanerson of Center Point, an economics teacher and is a wrestling coach, will face Democrat Kristen Keast of Mt. Vernon.

    Campaign finance reports: Stanerson For State House

    House District 96
    Registration: D 5239, R 6346, N 9186, total 20780, R +1107
    Incumbent: Lee Hein, R-Monticello

    Lee Hein may have needed to move back into his district, but he got the better end of the House 58 pairup than fellow Republican Brian Moore, who stayed behind in a very blue seat.
    In the 2001 map, Jones County was in one House district and Delaware County was split. This decade it's the other way around, as Delaware stays whole and Jones is split. Most of the land in Jones goes east to House 58, but most of the people, in population centers Anamosa and Monticello, are in this district. As a whole, Jones is a little bigger than Delaware, so this is a more even split, something like 55-45 Delaware rather than 60-40 Jones.

    Republicans and Farm Bureau targeted this seat in 2010. Hein, a Monticello school board member beat three term Democrat Ray Zirkelbach by about 800, in a district with a 1400 Democrat registration edge. With Delaware County added, the seat turns redder.

    Campaign finance reports: Hein for State House

    Original post 6/29/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 47, Iowa House District 93 & 94

    Senate District 47
    Registration: D 13692, R 16280, N 19609, total 49623, R +2588
    Incumbent: Roby Smith, R-Davenport; holdover seat

    In Bettendorf and east Davenport, the Republican primary has been the big deal, as two consecutive incumbents have been knocked off in this district. In 2006, longtime moderate Maggie Tinsman lost to newcomer Dave Hartsuch, who then BARELY won the general over Phyllis Thede. Hartsuch quickly established himself as the Senate's leading hard-right crazy, and lost a landslide to Bruce Braley in the 2008 congressional race. (He was pointedly excluded from John McCain's October `08 visit to the QC.)

    In 2010 it was Hartsuch who lost his primary, thus giving him the David Levy No-prize as the only Republican incumbent who sought re-election and failed, as no GOP incumbents lost in the general. (Democrats did, however, pick up one OPEN House seat, Dan Muhlbauer in Carroll.)

    The winner was Roby Smith, who had lost a 2006 House race one district to the west. The primary with Hartsuch was more a matter of emphasis than actual policy differences; Hartsuch was about social issues while Smith was about Business.

    Democrats were optimistic enough that they, too, had a primary. Phyllis Thede's husband David was favored, but lost a bit of an upset to Richard Clewell. In retrospect, Democratic hopes to win this seat probably vanished when Hartsuch lost the primary, as Smith handily won the general with 59%.

    The lines change little. Bettendorf (along with the enclaved cities of Riverdale and Panorama Park) remains whole and remains the anchor. In Davenport, the lines remain Brady (Highway 61) for the most part. Pleasant Valley Township is added to the east of Bettendorf. the district gains about 800 Republicans, which could be useful for the party if Smith gets primaried from the right...

    Campaign finance reports: Smith for Senate

    House District 93
    Registration: D 7678, R 7322, N 9613, total 24639, D +356
    Incumbent: Phyllis Thede, D-Bettendorf

    David Thede's 2010 Senate primary loss precluded the chance that Iowa would see its first husband and wife legislative team since the Republican Hesters (Senator Jack and Representative Joan) left office in 1994. As noted, Phyllis had run for the Senate seat in 2006, falling just 436 votes short of Hartsuch. In 2008 she set her sights on the House and finished off another two-legislator family, the Van Fossens. Jim, the dad, had lost to Elesha Gayman in 2006. Phyllis beat Jamie Van Fossen, the son, 56-44.

    Republicans made a serious comeback effort in 2010 with former Davenport city council member Carla Batchelor, but Thede held on by 233 votes. Given that margin, the line changes are significant, as Thede loses more than half of what had been an 1145 Democratic registration edge. Thede's district shifts east, losing part of downtown Davenport and everything north of 53rd Street, and picking up a bigger piece of west Bettendorf.

    This year, Davenport tea partier Mark Nelson has the Republican line on the ballot. Nelson was the 2006 Libertarian nominee for lieutenant governor.

    Campaign finance reports: Thede for Iowa Families

    House District 94
    Registration: D 6014, R 8958, N 9996, total 24984, R +2944
    Incumbent: Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf

    The Republican primary doesn't always settle things in Bettendorf. After Linda Miller knocked off moderate Joe Hutter in the same 2006 primary where Hartsuch teabagged Tinsman to death, Hutter continued his re-election bid as an independent. Democrats didn't have a horse in that race, which Miller won easily. She had no opposition in 2008 or 2010.

    But this year Miller gets her first ever Democratic opponent: attorney Maria Bribriesco.

    This is still basically the Bettendorf district, though a slightly bigger piece gets carved out; at 33,217 population, Bettendorf is just a little too big for The District Draws Itself. Miller picks up the northwest part of Davenport from Thede, and Pleasant Valley Township east of the city limits. This gives her a slightly stronger GOP registration edge.

    Campaign finance reports: Concerned Citizens for Miller

    Original post 6/28/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 46, Iowa House District 91 & 92

    Senate District 46
    Registration: D 12899, R 12635, N 18487, total 44037, D +264
    Incumbents: Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon and Jim Hahn, R-Muscatine

    How many of us assumed on Map Day that Hahn, who'll be 76 be Election Day 2012, would step down and cede this seat to Shawn Hamerlinck? Or that Hamerlinck, who works in Clinton and lives almost on the line of no-incumbent Senate 49, would move?

    Didn't happen, so we have the only two incumbent Senate primary, between two Republicans on turf that leans Democratic.

    This new combined seat is exactly half and half: one House seat that's all Muscatine, one that's all Scott. (Specifics under each.) Both of the House districts have been won by Democrats in recent years.

    Jim Hahn of Muscatine went to the House in 1990. He moved over to the Senate in 2004 when long-timer Dick Drake retired. That district went north into Jeff Kaufmann's Cedar County based House district. Hahn loses all of Cedar County, the northern tier of Muscatine, and a tiny piece of Johnson that he won't miss much.

    What he gets instead is a chunk of western Scott County and Shawn Hamerlinck. The Davenport city council member knocked off Democrat Frank Wood in 2008 by just 384 votes. That district went north into Republican Steve Olson's House district that was about half rural-suburban north and east Scott County and half rural-suburban south and west Clinton County.

    This primary has rippled into the 2nd CD congressional race. Counter-intuitively, Hahn has endorsed the Quad City based candidate, John Archer, while Hamerlinck is supporting Muscatine's Dan Dolan. That ought to muddy the friends and neighbors dynamic.

    Democrats are ready to take on the survivor with Muscatine firefighter Chris Brase, who seems to be a Tom Courtney recruit. Courtney's from the safe adjacent district to the south so he's likely to help out.

    On the January 19 campaign finance report, Committee to Elect Jim Hahn had $6594 in hand, raised $2450, and reported no spending. Committee to Elect Shawn Hamerlinck raised $7,088.00, spent $7358, and had $2261 in the bank. Committee to Elect Chris Brase had just gotten started with $500.

    House District 91
    Registration: D 6341, R 6553, N 8506, total 21408, R +212
    Incumbent: Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine

    Mark Lofgren, a first time candidate in 2010, finally took this seat back for the GOP. He beat the first Democrat to hold the set in decades, three termer Nathan Reichert, by 1500 votes.

    This is another District Draws Itself, as the city of Muscatine is 75% of ideal district size. Lofgren also keeps suburban Bloomington Township (a GOP stronghold) and the same three townships in eastern Muscatine County including Stockton. He sheds one rural township to the west and adds the Fruitland area. This adds a little population and makes a swing seat even closer.

    Democrats have recruited John Dabeet, chair of the Muscatine Community College business department. Dabeet is of Palestinian heritage and Democrats felt the need to emphasize that he is a Christian.

    This seat is definitely winnable for a Democrat in a good year, as Muscatine is trending blue, but it'll take some work as Muscatine is historically low turnout.

    Campaign finance reports: Team Lofgren

    House District 92
    Registration: D 6558, R 6082, N 9981, total 22629, D +476
    Incumbent: Ross Paustian, R-Walcott

    No one really thought Elesha Gayman had a shot in 2006, when the netroots activist shocked Jim (The Elder) Van Fossen. Gayman set a record, since broken by Anesa Kajtazovic, as the youngest woman elected to the legislature. And no one really expected her to retire - an odd term to use for a 32 year old - days before the 2010 filing deadline.

    Republican Ross Paustian had never stopped running. He was briefly reported as a winner on Election Night 2008, but absentees put Gayman over the top. Democrat Sheri Carnahan made a serious 2010 effort, but Paustian won with 57%.

    The district keeps almost the same lean, a very slight D tilt, on paper. That should help former senator Frank Wood, who is attempting a comeback on the House side. Wood, who announced June 15, narrowly (480 votes) knocked off Republican incumbent Bryan Sievers in 2004 despite the GOP trend, before falling to Hamerlinck in 2008 despite the Democratic trend. Wood ran county-wide in 2010, losing a supervisor race but running slightly ahead of the other two Democrats in a vote-for-three swept by the GOP.

    As for the lines, the city portion shifts north (losing all its riverfront) and east to roughly Highway 61. Out in the county Paustian keeps very similar lines, and most of the county west of Davenport. He loses Buffalo and gains the city of Donahue, and keeps Eldridge, Long Grove, Walcott and Blue Grass.

    Paustian for State House was off to an early money lead, with $16,596 on hand on the January 19 report to Wood for State House's $4432.

    Original post 6/27/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 45, Iowa House District 89 & 90

    Senate District 45
    Registration: D 16646, R 8456, N 18967, total 44100, D +8190
    Incumbent: Joe Seng, D-Davenport; holdover seat

    I've been a Loebsacker since at least 2005, when he was still Some Dude, so my objectivity is strained as I look at Senator Doctor Seng.Since the only complaints I hear about My Man Dave are that 1) he doesn't vote exactly like Dennis Kucinich and 2) he didn't step aside for Christie Vilsack, a primary challenge from the RIGHT by a MALE makes little sense.

    So let's assume for now that Seng doesn't pull this off, in which case he settles back in to hold over till 2014. In a district this blue, about 700 Democrats stronger than his old turf, he could be vulnerable to a primary challenge of his own. I'm just sayin'.

    As for the lines, what was a vertical strip through the middle third of Davenport moves south and west and partway out of the city.

    Campaign finance reports: Committee to Elect Joe Seng

    House District 89
    Registration: D 7848, R 5153, N 9773, total 22790, D +2695
    Incumbent: Jim Lykam, D-Davenport

    Lykam won one term in 1988, got knocked off in by Steve Grubbs in `90, then came back on friendlier turf in 2002, friendly enough that he drew a bye in 2010. (In 2006 he beat Roby Smith). That turf, new in west central Davenport, stays just about as friendly this decade. He loses a couple precincts in the north, where the district used to go to the Davenport-Eldridge line, and shifts west to the Davenport city limits.

    Davenport alderman Bill Edmond is running on the GOP side. (Trivia: Davenport was the last city in the state with a partisan city council. They voted to go non-partisan in 1995. The code section allowing partisan city councils remains on the books even though no one uses it.)

    Campaign finance reports: Friends of Jim Lykam

    House District 90
    Registration: D 8798, R 3303, N 9194, total 21310, D +5495
    Incumbent: Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport

    Winckler knocked off one-term Republican John Sunderbruch in 2000 and has been mostly solid since. Republicans made a serious effort last cycle with city council member Ray Ambrose. Ambrose held Winckler to a relatively close 55%, with dismal turnout. That may be the max for the GOP on this turf, as Winckler's margins are usually closer to 70-30. Or 100 to nothing; no Republican filed here.

    The district shifts south and west, taking in most of southwest Davenport in wards 1 and 3. Winckler also moves east along the riverfront by what looks like one precinct, which gives her almost all of Davenport's Illinois border. It expands outside the city limit to include the city of Buffalo, which gives the district a nice long skinny shape that redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering likes. The changes make the seat even more Democratic.

    Campaign finance reports: Winckler for State House

    Original post 6/24/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 44, Iowa House District 87 & 88

    Senate District 44
    Registration: D 16429, R 11222, N 14589, total 42262, D +5207
    Incumbent: Tom Courtney, D-Burlington

    Here's a good illustration of the ripple effect of redistricting. A triple-up two districts to the west in 2001 led to significantly different lines for Gene Fraise of Fort Madison and an empty district in Burlington. The beneficiary was Tom Courtney, who slid comfortably into the seat without GOP opposition (he beat an independent Some Dude) in 2002 and no opposition at all two years later. The Republicans finally tried in `08; David Kerr only scored 40% but carried Louisa. This cycle, GOP veteran Bradley Bourn has announced .

    The revised district keeps Des Moines and Louisa counties intact. Courtney also keeps a chunk of western Muscatine County, which grows. Despite that the party margin is almost identical.

    But it's polarized; the Courtney Senate seat is made of one heavily Democratic House seat and another that's dead even.

    Campaign finance reports: Courtney for State Senate Committee

    House District 87
    Registration: D 9966, R 4607, N 7098, total 21689, D +5359
    Incumbent: Dennis Cohoon, D-Burlington

    Another District Draws Itself seat; Burlington's population is 84% of ideal House district size. West Burlington historically was carved off, but now they're together and are 94% of a district. Lose three townships to the north, add one on the south, and that's Dennis Cohoon's district. He's been in the House since 1987, making him the senior House member.

    Minister Dave Selmon actually held Cohoon to 59% in the toxic climate of 2010; that's probably a high water mark for the Republicans. I guess I shouldn't say "high water mark" around a river town. Selmon considered a 2012 run but in the end didn't. Instead Cohoon will face Republican Andrew Wilson, who appears to be Some Dude.

    Campaign finance reports: Cohoon for Representative

    House District 88
    Registration: D 6463, R 6615, N 7491, total 20573, R +152
    Incumbent: Tom Sands, R-Wapello

    The Des Moines Register called Iowa Highway 70 from West Liberty to Nichols, Conesville, and the Columbus Junction area "the Hispanic Highway". This census both West Liberty and Conesville reported Hispanic majorities in the census with Columbus Junction just short at 48%.

    This is the descendent of the district I ran in two maps ago. In 2002 the configuration changed from Louisa-rural Muscatine-rural Johnson to Louisa-rural Muscatine-rural Des Moines. That's when Tom Sands, then of Columbus Junction (he's now moved downstream to Wapello) took over from Barry Brauns.

    Sands keeps the same basic configuration as last decade, with Louisa as the core of the district. In Des Moines County, he keeps the rural and small towns west of the city, but loses West Burlington to Dennis Cohoon. The seat expands north geographically, making up for population loss; no place was hit harder by the 2008 flood than Louisa County. Sands adds most of the northern tier of Muscatine County: West Liberty, Atalissa, Moscow, and rural Wilton, though the city of Wilton itself stays with Jeff Kaufmann's district. Sands keeps Nichols and Conesville in western Muscatine but drops Fruitland (the fruit in question would be melons) south of Muscatine city.

    The result is a dead-even swing seat. If you sort Iowa House districts by party margin, this is number 50 of 100. Democrats have made some credible efforts. The toughest challenge was in 2008, when former Columbus City mayor Frank Best held him to just 53%. Despite that, Sands got a bye in 2010.

    This year, Democrats are serious. Sara Sedlacek, a West Liberty Democrat who works as assistant to the Director at Backyard Abundance and as a grant writer for Johnson County, is a veteran of several Iowa campaigns, including Culver/Judge and State Rep. John Wittneben, who she also served as clerk.

    As Ways and Means chair, Sands has been high profile this session and has plenty of access to cash; Sands for State House reported $45,498 in hand January 19. But Committee to Elect Sara Sedlacek was one of the top challengers at fundraising, with $9,378 in the bank.

    Original post 6/23/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 43, Iowa House District 85 & 86

    Senate District 43
    Registration: D 24130, R 9455, N 19380, total 53182, D +14675
    Incumbent: Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City; holdover seat

    Joe Bolkcom went from the Board of Supervisors to the Senate in 1998 and it's been quiet since. This is by far the most Democratic Senate seat, and Republicans last ran a state senate candidate in the Iowa City based district in 1986. Bolkcom's only opposition, primary or general, was an independent in 2006. Joe stays till 2014.

    The district doesn't quite draw itself, as Iowa City is just a little bigger than a Senate district. In the 1990s a piece of the north side was carved out and sent to Bob Dvorsky in Coralville; last decade the excess chunk was on the west side instead. That basic configuration stays, with one more west side precinct taken out of Bolkcom's turf and sent to Dvorsky's. There's also a panhandle to the south; see below.

    Campaign finance reports: Joe Bolkcom for Iowa Senate

    House District 85
    Registration: D 12308, R 4793, N 9523, total 26748, D +7515. The number one Democratic district in the state.
    Incumbent: Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City

    This becomes an entirely Iowa City district for the first time. In 2000 Lensing had University Heights; last decade she had the rural fragments of East Lucas township. The line across Iowa City for the most part follows Highway 6, Burlington Street, and Muscatine Avenue, with one deviation south (precinct 19). The area north of the line is Lensing's, though her funeral home gets moved into Mary Mascher's district.

    When longtime legislative legend Minnette Doderer retired in 2000, Lensing won a competitive primary and a less competitive general election. That's the last time she saw any opposition at all.

    Campaign finance reports: Lensing for House District #78 (sic)

    House District 86
    Registration: D 11822, R 4662, N 9857, total 26434, D +7160
    Incumbent: Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City

    The University of Iowa campus gets split; under the old map it was almost all in Mary Mascher's district. Mascher won her first term in 1994 and last saw Republican opposition in 1996. There was a self-starter Some Dude independent in 2008.

    Mascher had to move back into her district when the map was announced. That should be the toughest part of the campaign, as the line changes leave this as the second most Democratic seat in the state. The configuration -- most of Iowa City east of Mormon Trek and south of downtown -- is a lot like her 1990s turf. But in a nod to redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering, the lines drop south to pick up the city of Hills.

    In case you were wondering, Republicans didn't file in either of the Iowa City House seats.

    Campaign finance reports: Committee to Elect Mascher

    Original post 6/22/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 42, Iowa House District 83 & 84

    Senate District 42
    Registration: D 14153, R 11008, N 15695, total 40890, D +3145
    Open seat; Gene Fraise, D-Ft. Madison retiring. Contested primaries in both parties.

    Gene Fraise, who has held some variation of this seat since 1986, is stepping down as he turns 80, prompting primaries in both parties.

    Fraise's last district had nice clean lines: Henry and Lee counties, no more no less. All of that stays in this seat. To bump the population up, the leftovers of Washington and Jefferson counties are added: Crawfordsville, Brighton, Lockridge and Coppock. Lee County makes up 59% of the district, with Henry making up 33% and the rest in the other counties. The messing at the margins shaves about 500 Democrats off the party registration edge.

    The leading Republican, Lee County Supervisor Larry Kruse, announced before Fraise's retirement was official. Kruse has been in office since 2004; his supervisor term is on the same cycle as the Senate seat so it's up or out for him. While Kruse has county-wide name ID in Lee (59% of the district, with Henry making up 33%), the county elects supervisors by districts. So he's only been a candidate in one-fifth of Lee County (basically the north rural part). Kruse seems to be mindful of the Democratic edge here, citing a "track record of bi-partisan results."

    Kruse has a primary against Lee Harder of Hillsboro, who finished a distant third in the 2008 2nd Congressional District primary.

    Four Democrats announced for this seat but only three are left. Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland dropped out, reportedly for health reasons. The three remaining Dems are:
    • Fort Madison electrician and party activist Bob Morawitz.
    • Donna Amandus, also of Fort Madison, is described as "Democratic activist" in the Keokuk Gate City article, which emphasizes gender.
    • Mount Pleasant's Rich Taylor, recently retired working more than 26 years at the
      Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. Does that mean he's the AFSCME guy in this race? If so, Representative Todd would surely welcome him to the Taylor Caucus.
    So with three we're theoretically in the zone where no one gets 35 percent, thus forcing a convention, but it's not as likely as it was when this looked like a four way race. It nearly happened statewide in the `02 Republican governor primary: just three candidates and Doug Gross only got 35.6% FTW. Contests like this often become friends and neighbors races. Will the two Fort Madison candidates split their mutual base?

    Kruse for Senate led the field in money on the January 19 report with $4611 on hand. The Rich Taylor Campaign Fund had $528 and Committee to elect Bob Morawitz had $500, all from himself. Amandus announced later.

    Party ID favors whichever Dem gets through the primary; Lee County is more Democratic than Henry County is Republican. In recent races, Fraise beat Republican Doug Abolt twice in a row. It was relatively close at 53% in 2004; Fraise improved that to 57 in the 2008 rematch.

    House District 83
    Registration: D 8975, R 3780, N 7258, total 20035, D +5195
    Incumbent: Jerry Kearns, D-Keokuk

    The big change in the southeast corner of the state (Baja Iowa?) happened a decade ago. Fort Madison and Keokuk had historically anchored separate seats, but in 2001 they got put together. In a textbook example of a friends and neighbors primary, Keokuk's Phil Wise edged Fort Madison's Rick Larkin 51 to 49. (Rick landed on his feet, going to the Board of Supervisors.)

    When Wise stepped down in 2008, we got a counter-example. Jerry Kearns was one of two Keokuk Democrats facing a lone Fort Madison candidate, Tracy Vance. But Kearns' labor ties proved more important than the geography, as he won with a clear majority and went on to win the general with 60%. He then beat a late-starting tea-oriented Republican handily in 2010, and no Republican has filed this year.

    Compared to the radical rewrite of 2001, the lines are almost identical. Most of the line is still at about the latitude that demarcates the rest of the Missouri border, wrapping south of Donellson to exclude it, to Fort Madison. At the northeast, Kearns adds two townships, with no significant partisan impact.

    Campaign finance reports: Kearns for State Representative Committee

    House District 84
    Registration: D 5178, R 7228, N 8437, total 20855, R +2050
    Incumbent: Dave Heaton, R-Mt. Pleasant

    Unless your name is Vilsack, Henry County is GOP territory. Democrats have made a couple feints at serious runs since Dave Heaton went to the House in 1994, but haven't come close. Ron Fedler was supposed to be a sleeper in 2008 but lost by a couple thousand votes; Heaton more than doubled him in the 2010 rematch.

    The original Heaton seat back in the 90s paired the cities of Washington and Mt. Pleasant. It shifted to its current configuration, with Henry intact and northern rural Lee added, in 2001. Heaton keeps most of the same part of northern Lee County, and expands north and west into Washington and Jefferson. The seemingly small changes boost Heaton's partisan edge by about 800 registered Republicans. Democrats don't have a candidate yet.

    Campaign finance reports: Citizens for Heaton

    Original post 6/21/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 41, Iowa House District 81 & 82

    Senate District 41
    Registration: D 15692, R 12289, N 14038, total 42067, D +3403
    Incumbent: Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa; holdover seat

    Enjoy the ride, Chickenman; you won't be back in 2014.

    Mark Chelgren, whose claim to fame was his party hardy RAGBRAI persona, was the fluke of the year, emerging from a recount with a ten vote win over Bloomfield Democrat Keith Kreiman. He rolled up the margin in three whole rural counties: Appanoose, Davis, and Wayne. Chelgren has cut an abrasive profile in his first session, but with Democrats in Senate control he's been noticed less that the House Krazy Kaucus of Pearson, Massie and Shaw.

    The most Democratic Senate seat held by a Republican keeps a big Democratic edge. The district keeps Ottumwa and a slightly different portion of Wapello County; under the old lines within Wapello, Krieman was ahead by nearly 1000 votes. Davis County also stays in the district. But from there the district goes east, grabbing all of Van Buren and adding most of the population of blue-trending Jefferson County. The district line wraps around the east of Fairfield, bringing it into the district.

    Fairfield was home base for Democratic Senator Becky Schmitz, who won in a district that also included Van Buren in 2006. Schmitz, who lost to Sandy Greiner in 2010, is reportedly interested in a comeback. If she can wait a cycle, this looks like excellent turf.

    Campaign finance reports: Chelgren for Iowa Senate

    House District 81
    Registration: D 8937, R 4734, N 6336, total 20019, D +4203
    Incumbent: Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa

    The district Draws Itself: At 25,023, the city of Ottumwa is 82% of the size of a House district. Minor changes around the edges, of course. Instead of getting the townships south and west of the city, the district goes east to the county line, picking up Agency, Eldon, and the American Gothic house.

    This seat was turbulent a decade ago; Republican Galen Davis took advantage of a local Democratic in-fight for a fluke 1998 win. He got knocked off by Democrat Mark Tremmel, who left after one term to run for county attorney.

    In 2002 Gaskill, the former county auditor, won a close primary and settled in. She overwhelmingly won a bizarre 2010 primary over a former county supervisor (short version: the guy resigned, moved out of state, moved back soon after with no explanation). Republicans looked like there were making a serious effort last year with Jane Holody; even Mike Huckabee took an interest. But Gaskill earned a 57% win.

    There were rumors of a primary challenge to Gaskill again, but they didn't materialize. The Republicans will have a primary between Rick McClure and Blake Smith. McClure challenged Gaskill as an independent in 2008.

    Ottumwa trended Republican the last two cycles with Mariannette Miller-Meeks on the ballot, Republican enough for Chelgren's fluke win. But with MMM not running, I expect Wapello County to trend blue again.

    Campaign finance reports: Gaskill for State Representative

    House District 82
    Registration: D 6755, R 7555, N 7702, total 22048, R +800
    Incumbent Curt Hanson, D-Fairfield (Kurt Swaim, D-Bloomfield, retiring)

    When Democrat John Whitaker resigned to take a federal Department of Agriculture job in the summer of 2009, Fairfield became the center of statewide attention. Anti-marriage equality groups pumped huge amounts of out of state money into Fairfield, and Democrats responded with an all-out effort as well. Retired drivers ed teacher Curt Hanson prevailed by just 127 votes over Republican Steve Burgmeier. Two independent conservative candidates, representing the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea, were in the race, and they drew more votes than the difference.

    The rematch in the fall of 2010 was just the two of them. Despite the lack of Splitters!, the annus horriblis for Democrats and the fact that he was now just one of 100 races instead of the only game in town, Hanson increased his margin over Burgmeier to more than 1000 votes.

    So even though this turf leans Republican, Hanson seems to be in good shape. While the lines change, the party balance is about the same. The new district has all of Van Buren and most of Jefferson County, including Fairfield, from Hanson's old seat, and only Davis from fellow Democrat Kurt Swaim's. The redistricting pair was resolved when Swaim retired.

    Republicans have a primary. Bloomfield's James Johnson lost to Swaim by just 76 votes in 2010, and was last spotted on Team Bachmann. Campaign for Liberty activist Jeff Shipley of Fairfield ran for Iowa City council in 2009. Opposite ends of the district, and Fairfield has a strong libertarian streak.

    Johnson for St Rep had $914 cash on hand on the January 19 report, all left over from 2010.  Curt Hanson for State Representative has been actively fundraising and reported $6272 on hand.

    Original post 6/20/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

    District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 40, Iowa House District 79 & 80

    Senate District 40
    Registration: D 11309, R 16838, N 14388, total 42561, R +5529
    Open seat; Tom Rielly, D-Oskaloosa, retiring

    Sorry, Dems, but this one's gone. Even if Rielly had stayed in the race, it was probably gone. It's the seventh most Republican Senate District in the state, and Republicans had recruited a strong challenger in Mahaska County Supervisor Ken Rozenboom.

    Rielly's late retirement after two terms on light-red turf is probably a blessing in disguise. Rather than using resources in a difficult fight to save an incumbent, Mike Gronstal can write this seat off -- at this point, Democrats don't even have a candidate -- and focus on some of his other tough races.

    It's hard to even call this "Rielly's" district. His home base of Oskaloosa and the eastern half of Mahaska is all that overlaps. The old seat went north and east: Keokuk and Poweshiek counties, most of Iowa (except Marengo) and a sliver of Tama. This district picks up the rest of Mahaska, all of Monroe and Appanoose, and the corner of Marion that includes Pella, It also gets rural Wapello County north and west of Ottumwa, but none of the Democrats from the city itself.

    Rozenboom even managed to clear the primary field. Potential rival Mark Doland dropped out in January and endorsed Rozenboom, but expressed interest in Rozenboom's county supervisor seat. (Like Sally Stutsman in Johnson, Rozenboom is in the middle of a four year term.)

    Campaign finance reports: Rozenboom for Senate

    House District 79
    Registration: D 4451, R 9837, N 7158, total 21460, R +5386
    Incumbent: Guy Vander Linden, R-Oskaloosa (Jim Van Engelenhoeven, R-Pella, retiring)

    This is the Republican version of the Democratic pair-up in Lee County ten years ago. Two similar sized cities that had always been the anchors of different legislative districts got thrown together. In this corner: Oskaloosa, population 11,463. In that corner, weighing in at 10,352, the world heavyweight champion of tulips and windows, Pella.

    But unlike the epic Keokuk vs. Ft. Madison Democratic primary of 2002, this one got worked out. Pella's Jim Van Engelenhoeven is retiring, and freshman Guy Vander Linden inherits what's now a safe seat. Democrat Chris Wilson of Oskaloosa is going to give it a try.

    Two years ago it was a very different story, as Vander Linden beat two-term Democrat Eric Palmer last year in a dead-even Oskaloosa-Grinnell seat. The new district has only Pella and surrounding Lake Prairie township in Marion County. In Mahaska the line includes Osky and the enclave of University Park, plus the geographic west half of the county: New Sharon, Beacon, Leighton.

    Campaign finance reports: VANDER LINDEN for Iowa

    House District 80
    Registration: D 6858, R 7001, N 7230, total 21101, R +143
    No Incumbent

    Mike Gronstal's road to 26 senators may not run through Oskaloosa anymore. But Kevin McCarthy's route from minority leader to Speaker definitely goes through Albia.

    No-incumbent House 80 is a very close swing seat: just barely Democratic before the caucuses, just barely Republican after.  It includes all of Appanoose and Monroe Counties, western Wapello and eastern Mahaska; it comes up to the city limits of Ottumwa and Oskaloosa but includes neither.

    Democrats have an A-list candidate from the first family of Monroe County politics. Joe Judge, a teacher and former county party chair, is the son of former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and former Sen. John Judge (who succeeded Patty in the Senate when she became Secretary of Agriculture).

    Larry Sheets of Moulton, a retired engineer and former school board member, is the Republican. Judge for Iowa is off to an early money lead, with $9694 on hand as of the January 19 report. Sheets for Iowa House had $326.

    Original post 6/17/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House