Saturday, March 17, 2012

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

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