I've been prepping for an election, a vacation, and a gardening season all at once. Something had to give, and it's been the writing. Still trying to preview a primary that's now just two days away, and only on part three of five. Today it's a look at the Republican senate races.
The mother of all primaries has been in Senate District 22
between mobile moderate incumbent Pat Ward, who has moved about a half a
district west to avoid a pair-up on Democratic turf, and right wing
minister Jeff Mullen. The district is half Polk, half Dallas: Clive, Waukee, Windsor Heights and parts of WDM.
Every conservative from Michelle Bachman to - get this blast from the past - Phyllis Schlafly - is weighing in for Mullen, who's been going negative.
In a GOP primary electorate I always give the more conservative
contender the edge. But Republicans need to think about electability,
even in a strong Republican district, as Democrats have a real go-getter
in attorney Desmund Adams.
Ward, who in January trailed both
Adams and Mullen in fundraising, now has the lead, raising $49,246 as of
Friday and spending $34,779. Mullen has raised $14,671 and spent
$11,827. Ward's got the business PACs, Mullen has the ideology groups.
Ideology also shows up in the Senate District 36
primary in Marshalltown. Two time House loser Jane Jech got in early
and has the Bob Vander Plaats nod; former Senator Larry McKibben was
recruited back into the ball game by Branstad. He has the money edge
with $18,539 raised and $10,591 spent. Jech has raised $5289 and spet
$4411. The Marshalltown Times-Republican has a good overview. Winner faces freshman Democrat Steve Sodders in what should be a top tier swing seat race.
It's a pragmatist vs. purist faceoff in open Senate District 4 between former Senator Jim "Back In" Black and tea partyish Dennis Guth, as the Mason City Globe-Gazette reports.
Republican Steve Kettering is retiring in Senate District 6.
Carroll mayor Adam Schweers has the backing of popular former state
representative Rod Roberts, while county supervisor Mark Segebart is
running to the anti-gay right. Sac County sheriff's deputy Matthew Biede appears to be an afterthought.
Wayne County supervisor Amy Sinclair looks like a favorite in open Senate District 14
where deposed (call it what it is) Senate minority leader Paul McKinley
is retiring. The new seat includes four whole counties - Clarke, Lucas,
Decatur and Wayne - plus most of Mahaska, with the exception of Pella.
It also has a chunk of southern Jasper County and is more competitive
than the old seat.
Despite hailing from the district's smallest county, Sinclair has a
big money lead with over 14k raised and big name donors including Lt.
Gov. Kim Reynolds (who represented some of this turf), Senator
Chickenman Chelgren, and Rep. Joel Fry. Steven Everly
of Knoxville had just $535, and Stephanie Jones of Knoxville as
distinguished herself mostly by getting in trouble with the law.
The only two incumbent Senate primary is in Senate District 46
between veteran legislator Jim Hahn of Muscatine and freshman Shawn
Hamerlinck of various Scott County addresses. The district is exactly
half Muscatine, half Scott, meaning the friends and neighbors dynamic
may be decisive.. Ed Tibbets has a good overview. The winner faces Democrat Chris Brase, a firefighter from Muscatine, on turf that leans very slightly Democratic.
The other contests are low key. In new no incumbent Senate District 10
in Dallas County and points west, Jake Chapman is an overwhelming
favorite over Matthew Mardesen, who started late and has some personal
issues. Dems have no candidate. I can't top the Iowa Republican overview.
In no-incumbent Senate District 48
in Delaware, Jones, and rural Linn counties, Dan Zumbach has spent
almost none of a $20k warchest against Some Dude Brian Cook. Winner
faces Democratic Rep. Nate Willems of Lisbon in a very competitive seat.
Lee County supervisor Larry Kruse is a favorite over one-time
congressional candidate Lee Harder in open Senate District 42,
where Democrat Gene Fraise is retiring. The winner of a Democratic
primary should be favored, but Fraise was held to 53% in 2004.
Dubuque's Senate District 50,
perennial candidate John Hulsizer Jr., a landslide loser in the general
four years ago, faces Paulite ex-congressional candidate Will Johnson for the right to lose to Democrat Pam Jochum in the fall.