Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 20, Iowa House District 39 & 40

Senate District 20
Registration: D 12421, R 16948, N 12175, total 41592, R +4527
Incumbent: Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale

Map Day had bad news and good news for Brad Zaun. The bad news was that Tom Latham moved in, scuttling any congressional ambitions Zaun may have still had after losing a hard-fought 2010 race to Leonard Boswell.

Boz beat Zaun up pretty bad on past personal stuff, and he might have been vulnerable this year in his old district lines. But the good news for Zaun is that he gets a better Senate seat. He loses a Democratic corner of Des Moines and instead adds Johnston and Grimes to his Urbandale base. It's a combination that makes more intuitive sense than the old hybrid urban-suburban seat. On Map Day, the registration numbers were -2,568 Republicans on the old turf, +3368 Republicans in the new district. Good enough that no Democrat bothered to file.

Zaun got some bonus points for loyalty at the end of the caucus cycle, stepping up as state chair of the sinking Bachmann campaign after Kent Sorenson jumped ship for Ron Paul.

Campaign finance reports: Zaun for Iowa Senate

House District 39
Registration: D 5689, R 8760, N 6395, total 20868, R +3071
Incumbent: Erik Helland, R-Johnston; primary challenge

Every cycle gets a WTF primary, and this time it seems to have happened to Helland as UI senior Jake Highfill announced, undeterred by Friends of Helland's $37,594 in the bank. The funny part is that at age 31 Helland is already one of the youngest legislators. The primary got even more WTF this week when Highfill charged that Helland offered him a job if he would drop out of the race.

If you want a young candidate, Drake law student Kelsey Clark of Grimes is running for the Democrats.

Republican Walt Tomenga got squeezed out of this seat in 2008 for being insufficiently conservative. Helland, seen as the conservative choice, stomped Tomenga's choice, Al Lorenzen, in the hot open seat primary. Helland won 61% in the general, which scared off any 2010 rivals.

As Johnston doubles in population and becomes bigger than half a district, the turf shrinks radically. Helland used to have the whole northern half of the county except Ankeny. He loses everything east of the river and the Saylorville Reservoir - Alleman, Elkhart, Polk City - as the district becomes basically Johnston and Grimes. It also has Jefferson Township to the north and a small bit of Urbandale. the Republican registration edge drops by 1000 but the district is still strongly Republican.

House District 40
Registration: D 6732, R 8188, N 5780, total 20724, R +1456
Open seat; Scott Raecker, R-Urbandale, retiring

An open GOP-leaning seat in Polk County, as House Appropriations chair Raecker steps down after 14 years. The line changes cost Raecker about 200 registered Republicans but with the advantage of long incumbency he was winning safely: 61% in bad year 2008 and 65% in good year 2010.

The district shrinks all the way into the Polk County part of Urbandale, which is now so big it has to be split between districts.

Each party attracted one candidate here. Democrat John Forbes of the Urbandale city council will face Republican fitness club owner Mike Brown. Raecker announced his retirement late, so neither had filed January 19 finance reports.

Original post 5/20/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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