Friday, August 31, 2012

Good, Bad, and Ugly

Mitt Romney was good. Not great, just good. He was somewhat successful at humanizing himself (though Ann Romney did a better job of that Tuesday), but vague on policy details. Which likely doesn't matter; the thin sliver of undecideds aren't looking for position papers. I still think this election will be a land war of getting out the base vote, rather than an air war of persuading a nonesistent middle.

Paul Ryan was bad. As in bad cop, the traditional attack-dog running mate role. Which can be done without playing as fast and loose with the truth as he did.

And Clint Eastwood? Just plain ugly. A brief, scripted speech could have been powerful, but instead he embarrassed both the campaign and himself. And speaking of empty chairs, O. Kay reports there were quite a few in the Ron Paul dominated Iowa delegation Thursday.

Other than that, we saw a parade of rising stars and barely restrained 2016 hopefuls who focused on their own messages and shoehorned the name Romney in somewhere toward the end of their speeches.

For me, though, the important part of the convention was the rules and calendar fight. Republican rules have a ripple effect into the Democratic calendar as Iowa fights to stay first. For now at least, the GOP is protecting the quartet of designated early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina. Iowa Republicans and Ron Paul supporters are bothered by the new requirements that delegates be awarded in proportion to vote, but Iowa Democrats already had that rule in place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running A Full Day Behind

Holding a day job outside media is incompatible with keeping up with an info overload like a national convention. (Yeah, I know I said I hated them. That's different than saying I don't pay attention to them.) I probably missed the Most Important Thing but I did isolate a few items that deserve more attention:

It seems the NCAA's Department Of Pretending Things Didn't Happen was in charge of reading the roll call results yesterday. I'm not a Paul fan, but I did enjoy the Paulbots shouting the real results in unison when they were ignored from the podium, In other news, Gary Johnson is securely on the Iowa ballot. Just sayin'.

Craig Robinson has a must read on how Team Spiker's behavior led to party rule changes, while the Las Vegas Sun notes that the Paul forces ended their fight for the rules by... breaking the rules.

In our News Of The Weird department: The 10 oddest items in the GOP platform My favorite is "No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands."

Headline says it all: Romney Party Yacht Flies Cayman Islands Flag

Two Independents File For Supervisor

The Johnson County Republicans' oh-fer-half a century streak on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors will continue, but there is competition for the three seats. Two independent candidates filed before today's 5 PM deadline.

David Fesler of Coralville is a registered Democrat, but is married to prominent local GOP activist Karen Fesler. The other independent, John Etheredge of rural Kalona, is a registered Republican. The two independents will join three Democratic incumbents on the November ballot. Pat Harney, Terrence Neuzil, and Rod Sullivan were re-nominated without opposition in the June primary.

At the risk of repeating myself: Even in a county not as one-sided as Johnson, independent candidates start off with a disadvantage on straight ticket votes, since they receive none at all. Check these Johnson County numbers for straight tickets in 2008:
Total voters 73,231
Dem straight tickets 14,366
GOP straight tickets 5,351
So running as a Republican in Johnson County, you'd start 9000 votes behind the Democrats just on straight tickets. But as an independent, you give up even those 5000 straight ticket Republican votes, and start out 14,000 in the hole. True, Don Sehr was elected as an independent in 1994, but that was a special election, he was holding the seat already by appointment, and there was a nasty Democratic party split.

As for the Johnson County GOP, they last won a supervisor race in 1958. (There was a Republican sheriff for four terms in the 70s and 80s,) But their local focus looks to be on the two open-seat legislative races in House 73 and 77.

In the other courthouse races, Democratic Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek has a race on his hands with the justice center issue, but as for his own job he wins a third term without primary or general election opposition. Pulkrabek was also unopposed in 2008, but won hotly contested primary and general election races when the job was open in 2004.

In the auditor's race, Democrat Travis Weipert of Tiffin will take office in January with no general election opposition. Weipert defeated incumbent Tom Slockett in the primary.

Weipert had been on the Tiffin city council, and his early resignation opened up one of two seats in Tiffin that will be on the ballot for one year terms. The first seat opened up when Chris Ball resigned to take a city administration job out of town; Weipert then resigned so the contests could be combined. Six candidates filed in Tiffin, including former mayor Royce Phillips; Joan Kahler has been on the council in the past. The other four, all first time candidates: Jenny Carhoff, Allen Moore, Nelson Olivier, and Joshua Oswald.

In Hills, appointed council member Bruce Endris is the only candidate for a one year term. Endris was appointed in January to replace Tim Kemp, who had been elected mayor in the middle of a council term. (I should note that write-ins can happen. Almost certainly not successfully on a county-wide level in a presidential year, but maybe in a smaller race like this. Not that I have a reason to think that's happening in Hills.)

But the real battle in Hills will be over establishing a water utility. Hills voted down a water utility two to one in the 2007 city election. One problem here: vague ballot language.  "Shall the City of Hills, in Johnson County, Iowa, be authorized to establish a municipal water utility?" No dollar amount, no funding mechanism. Just: Water - yes or no? Swisher offered a similarly loose wording on a water issue in a 1999 special. The result: presidential level turnout for a municipal referendum, and a 72% No.

Also noted, at the state level: The ballot challenges to Libertarian Gary Johnson and Some Dude Jerry Litzel were denied so both will be on the presidential ballot.

And if you're really, really curious: all the incumbents for the ag extension board and the soil and water commission are running unopposed for re-election.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Clip Show

It's getting to the stage on the political calendar when I'm writing LESS and actually doing MORE, which is one reason I have largely ignored the Republican convention.

Another reason is: I don't really like conventions. I trace this to the childhood trauma of a family vacation in 1972, back in the caveman days of only three channels of TV, and all three were doing gavel to gavel convention. I can't remember if it was Nixon's re-coronation or the endless Democratic VP roll call, but it was deadly dull for an eight year old.

My interest in politics waxed later, and Hunter Thompson later taught me how interesting `72 really was in the greatest book ever written, but the significance of conventions waned. Mike Murphy sums up some of the many reasons we should slay this dinosaur. That said, yeah, I probably will watch Mitt's speech.

Another problem is they're simply too late, with next week's Democratic convention setting a new record. I said it before: If we're going to have the conventions this late, the third parties should get a time extension to get on the ballot.

Which would definitely help Gary Johnson. Ballot Access News has a good summary about the arguments in the effort to strike Johnson from the Iowa ballot. Later coverage noted that at least one challenger is a Romney staffer, which should surprise exactly no one. Perhaps they'll use the same "well, he didn't technically qualify, but he tried" legal logic they used to leave Joe "Fibbin' Fisherman" Seng on the primary ballot. No word on the other ballot challenge, against independent WTF candidate Jerry Litzel. The Johnson decision is due tomorrow.

In the big picture, a half a point for the Libertarians in Iowa dings Romney much worse than Obama, and Romney has tougher national math. William Galston has the guide to which states to watch early on election night while Mark Halperin rejects the premise: "(Romney) can’t win this piece-by-piece. There’s just too many states where he’s behind where the President is strong. I think it’s going to be a wave. I don’t think he can cherry pick the electoral college at this point."

Ronald Brownstein offers a different kind of math:
For President Obama, the winning formula can be reduced to 80/40. In 2008, Obama won a combined 80 percent of the votes of all minority voters, including not only African-Americans but also Hispanics, Asians, and others. If Obama matches that performance this year, he can squeak out a national majority with support from about 40 percent of whites—so long as minorities at least match the 26 percent of the vote they cast last time.

Obama’s strategic equation defines Mitt Romney’s formula: 61/74. Romney’s camp is focused intently on capturing at least 61 percent of white voters. That would provide him a slim national majority—so long as whites constitute at least 74 percent of the vote, as they did last time, and Obama doesn’t improve on his 80 percent showing with minorities.
This explains pretty much everything that is happening right now, in the field and in the media, including and especially the vote suppression wars. It also explains why a largely white liberal college town is one of the worst vantage points from which to watch this election.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Endorsement Fail

It's endorsement season and Iowa Farm Bureau hit this week with three congressional endorsements. All Republican, natch. The Iowa GOP twitosphere (I smiled when I said that) emphasized the endorsement of Ben Lange in the 1st CD. Me? I found the omission of John Archer in the 2nd District a lot more interesting.

Also interesting is Farm Bureau's reluctance - refusal, actually - to share their legislative endorsements.

When I got the email Wednesday about the congressional endorsements from press flack (I smiled when I said that) Kim Firebaugh, I asked for a list of legislative endorsements. I was hoping to do an article much like this one I wrote two years ago. (It's funny to see how wrong both Farm Bureau and I got some of those races.) Endorsements like these are important to a state-focused journalist, in order to ID priority races.

Response: "Local media will receive a news release with their local Friends of Ag recipients listed." True, I'd seen a couple of those in my news feed, Tom Shaw for one. But a scattershot approach doesn't help me.

Followup: "Could I get a statewide list? Thanks."

Response: "There is not a statewide list available."

Huh? Oh, come ON.

So I offered to do it their way: "Then perhaps you could send copies of all the individual releases and I could compile a list?"

No response to that or a couple more follow-ups over two days. The only thing I heard from Firebaugh was a press release on a different issue, so we know she was at work. If they change their mind, I'll publish the whole thing, but after three days of effort I think it's fair to write Farm Bureau Refuses To Release Candidate List.

It's their right to change their policy, of course, but in the absence of an explanation I'm free to speculate why. My bet is an embarrassing non-endorsement by a local Farm Bureau in some race the state folks had hoped to target. Prove me wrong.

Dems open 2nd Johnson County Office

Democrats have long had a two to one lead in voter registration in Johnson County. Now we have a two to one lead in offices:

Coralville office opening celebration
2781 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville
Sunday, August 26th at noon

The office is located in the Grand Rail Development.  The office is the old Capanna's Coffee Shop.  Going north on 965, turn left at Culver's.  It will be to your right.

Come celebrate the opening of the new OFA office!  Meet OFA staff and have a good time.  Maybe even discuss some politics...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Help Me A.J. Spiker You're Our Only Hope


The Republican party is on the brink of dealing a major blow to Iowa's traditional caucus system, with the process' critics pointing to recent battles over military voting rights to make the case for ending traditional nominating contest.
Chris Brown, Chairman of the Young Republican Federation of Alabama and a member of the Republican Convention's Rules Committee, is expected introduce a measure tomorrow requiring states to use "every means practicable" to ensure that military voters can cast ballots in any process used in the Republican presidential nominating process, according to a person involved in the effort. The measure will be seconded by influential Ohio GOP chair Bob Bennett, who has been a member of the RNC for more than two decades, the source said.
Caucuses — by definition in-person voting systems — would not satisfy the proposed rule, requiring dramatic changes to the process in Iowa and other caucus states, if not their outright abandonment.
Leave aside the argument about whether a primary is "better." And leave aside the argument about whether we should be first. The political reality is: First is important to Iowa. We can have a primary or we can be first. Not both. The number one job of any Iowa chair of either party is staying first. It's not a Democrat vs. Republican thing; it's an IOWA thing. It's a job Matt Strawn and Sue Dvorsky did well.

Here's the wording:
Proposed Change to Rule 15(c)7

Any process authorized or implemented by a state Republican Party for selecting delegates and alternate delegates or for binding the presidential preference of such delegates shall use every means practicable to guarantee the right of active duty military personnel, and individuals unable to attend meetings due to injuries suffered in military service the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in that process.
Note "delegate selection" as opposed to voting for a candidate.

So A.J. Spiker, and the Ron Paul-dominated Iowa delegation, needs to make a fast pivot away from getting Paul delegates from Maine seated and get their eyes on the prize of First. And they have to do it, frankly, on our weakest point.

We need a system that allows just enough room for the truly absent to vote, to address the very legitimate military/disability, without turning the community meeting caucuses into a year long absentee drive or anything that New Hampshire will call a "primary" in competition with their own. And we need to come up with it, like, this weekend, and convince a skeptical Republican convention that they can pull it off.

And for once I'm rooting for them.

Michigan J. Leapfrog: Calendar 2016 Fight Begins

It should be a dull, dull, dull two weeks of that 19th century institution, the national party conventions. For me the reaI action was this week as Republicans started discussing the rules for the 2016 nomination calendar. It'll be an open nomination in both parties (yes, that's my presidential prediction) so the rules decisions now are important to Iowa's first place role.

The Republican rules committee yesterday toughened the sanctions on states that go too early:
The amendment to the party rules, pushed by protected the four "carve out" states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, would institute draconian penalties making it less likely for any other state to move their primary earlier than the last Tuesday in February. Any violating state would see their delegates to the national convention to just 9, as opposed to half of their allotment as was enforced this year.
Nine delegates. For the whole state of Florida. To put that in perspective: my COUNTY has four Democratic national delegates.

The trick, of course, is in the enforcement. The Democrats caved in 2008 but the one real punishment Michigan and Florida got was a fairly effective candidate boycott. And that's the fun part of being an early state. Caucus night itself sucks. It's crowded and noisy and hard to follow, and it has MATH and FORMS which prove to be a little challenging for some. It's the year before that's the good part, with all the attention from candidates. (Though, with the repeated visits from both tickets the last couple weeks and next, it's starting to feel like caucus season again.)

So the first round goes our way. But Iowans have a lot of work to do the next three years to keep that first spot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Akin To Be

Headline's for all you Replacements fans.

Amidst the Todd Akin controversy, Jeff Greenfield notes two obvious points. Number one: 
His position on abortion--that the victim of rape should be compelled to bear her rapist’s child--has been the official position of the Republican Party for more than thirty years.

Indeed, the language of the GOP platform--all but certain to be adopted in Tampa next week--goes further. It declares that: "Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
And numero dos (sorry, Steve King): "Nobody takes the platform of a political party seriously any longer." Indeed, I was seriously thinking that, since the platforms are unenforcable, I would attend conventions and vote no on the entire platform. But then my self-imposed exile happened so I didn't follow through. I may yet do it in 2014.

Speaking of the King, national press seems to be missing the point about his inevitable weigh-in on behalf of his pal Akin... but his opponent isn't.

District of the Day followup: Scratch one seat for the Ds. House 18 candidate Kasey Friedrichsen took a new job and is ending her campaign against GOP incumbent
Jason Schultz. She is, however, leaving her name on the ballot.

But in brighter news: If you had any doubt that House 88 was on the A list for the Democrats, doubt no more.

Roxanne and Jim Conlin Invite You to Meet


At Their Home
2900 Southern Hills Circle
Des Moines, Iowa

Thursday, August 30th
5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

With Special Guest
Former First Lady Mari Culver

Sara is a dynamic young candidate for the Iowa House.
She is running from Iowa House District 88,
which includes Louisa, Muscatine, and Des Moines counties
That's the kind of event you'd expect to see for a member of the congressional delegation. Sara's part of the strong effort to turn Muscatine County blue this cycle, along with John Dabeet and Chris Brase.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We're Number Two

Easing back into the writing groove after that weekend-long District Of The Day 3 marathon. I know I promised you readers No Sleep Till Dubuque but I really should have read all those campaign finance reports sooner.

It's a new semester and in Iowa City that means another move up the charts in the Party School Ranking, all the way to Number Two With A Bullet (P-C pay wall):
The book also ranks UI No. 6 on its “Lots of Hard Liquor” list, No. 6 on the “Students Pack the Stadiums” list, No. 8 on the “Students Study the Least” list and No. 9 on the “Lots of Beer” list.
But... but... wasn't 21 Bar supposed to save us from that menace? Time for The Authorities to separate the issue of alcohol ABUSE from the drinking AGE and recognize that 18 year olds are ADULTS.

With the right to vote, as now that the semester is underway and everyone is settled into their dorms and apartments, the voter registrations are starting to pick up. And with that, the Democrats' first big vote by mail mailing, which hit mailboxes over the weekend.

At least there's one thing today's students don't have to worry about: the military draft. Neither did Mitt Romney, who "says" his dad convinced him: "I was too important to go to Vietnam. I had a greater purpose in life. I wasn’t neglecting my nation, but rather preparing myself for a future of service.” 

UPDATE: Oops! It appears I've been Onioned into believing a too believable parody. Must have been part of that Communist brainwashing. One of the all-time classic gaffes; by the end of today we may know more about where Todd Akin ranks on that scale. Today is the first and more significant of Missouri's dropout deadlines.

As for Mitt, while it may not be literally true, "too important" fits a pattern of Colbert style truthiness, whether it's arguing that his sons are "serving their country" by working on his campaign (that he actually DID say), or his apparent belief that taxes are charity. Jason Sudeikis should have a lot of fun this fall, if he decides to come back to SNL...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 50, Iowa House District 99 & 100

Senate District 50
Registration: D 16780, R 8581, N 13191, total 38592, D +8199
Incumbent: Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque

At last but not least, we reach Dubuque. The city of Dubuque is 95% of ideal district size, so the district draws itself.

Jochum moved over easily when the seat opened up in 2008, after 16 years in the House. Will Johnson, who ran a Paulish, tea partyish campaign in the 1st CD primary in 2010, beat Jochum's 2008 opponent, John Hulsizer, 56-44% in a primary for the right to lose in the state's fourth most Democratic district.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: People for Pam Jochum, Will Johnson for Senate Jochum has $10,797.57 on hand, half of it raised recently. Johnson has just $568.66.

House District 99
Registration: D 8621, R 4948, N 6929, total 20514, D +3673
Incumbent: Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque; rematch of 2010 race

Then-Speaker Pat Murphy had a close call in 2010. He'd won with a typical 69% in 2008, but Republican insurance agent Paul Kern held Murphy to 52-48. 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. Out of leadership, he's not a target anymore.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Paul Kern for State Representative, Murphy for State Representative Murphy's bank account is down from his leadership days but he still has $24,874.18 on hand, good for a rank and file incumbent. Kern has a surprising $13,293.66 including almost $9000 raised recently. $5000 of that was one donation from Dubuque businessman Mark Falb.

House District 100
Registration: D 8159, R 3633, N 6262, total 18078, D +4526
Incumbent: Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, unopposed.

The north Dubuque seat is the more Democratic of the two, number seven in the state. 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. This year, it's in the 100 percent range, with no primary or general opposition.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Isenhart Campaign for the Common Good

Senate District 50, House District 99 & 100: District of the Day 1 - 7/01/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 49, Iowa House District 97 & 98

Senate District 49
Registration: D 13032, R 10141, N 16250, total 39446, D +2891
No Incumbent; 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, so it goes on the ballot for a two year term.

Democrat Tod Bowman beat Republican Andrew Naeve by just 70 votes in 2010 in old Senate 13. 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 announced before the Bowman-Hancock pair had been resolved -- thus, 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.

Once Bowman made his decision, two Democratic women joined the race: Rita Hart of Wheatland, a community volunteer and retired teacher, beat Clinton attorney Dorothy O'Brien, 53-47%.

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

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Rita R. Hart for State Senate, Naeve for State Senate Naeve leads with $27,072.52  in the bank. Hart spent down to win the primary and raised $5,727 after; she had $4,386.62 cash on hand.

House District 97
Registration: D 5984, R 6032, N 8653, total 20682, R +48
Incumbent: Steve Olson, R-DeWitt

Steve Olson has survived ten years in swing territory. He got a relatively close 56-44 race in 2008, but then went unopposed in 2010. This year, the seat even closer. Democrats recruited a post-primary convention nominee, retired ALCOA worker Ted Whisler of LeClaire.

In Clinton County, Olson keeps Camanche, DeWitt and everything west. The changes are marginal in Scott as Olson swaps a couple Bettendorf-bordering townships. He keeps Le Claire, Princeton, and most of the Wapsi River border.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Steve Olson for State Representative, Ted Whisler for District 97 Just in case, Olson took in a whopping $26,325.00 in June and July, and has $31,626.54 on hand. He shouldn't worry: with a late start, Whisler only has $623.10.

House District 98
Registration: D 7048, R 4109, N 7597, total 18764, D +2939
Incumbent: Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, no Republican candidate

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 lines or party margin. She took over in 2010 when Democrat Polly Bukta. 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 the Republicans gave Wolfe a bye this year.

Independent candidate Carolyn Grimes is a library trustee and an ex-Republican.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Mary Wolfe Campaign Grimes had no report.

Senate District 49, House District 97 & 98: District of the Day 1 - 6/30/2011| District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 48, Iowa House District 95 & 96

Senate District 48
Registration: D 11066, R 12175, N 15545, total 38823, R +1109
No Incumbent

It's up or out for two term House member Willems. No matter which race he ran, the turf was radically changed. His old district was half Linn, half Johnson. The new Senate seat takes in a mostly different chunk of Linn, with only the Mt. Vernon-Lisbon metro area and Springville overlapping. It goes north and east to take in all of Delaware County and most of Jones, where Willems grew up.

Republican Cindy Golding, the loser to Liz Mathis in the Batle of Marion special Senate race, had said she would run here if she won rather than in Senate 34. But she passed on the race and endorsed farmer Dan Zumbach of rural Ryan. Zumbach had announced even before the special Senate election was called, and he easily beat Some Dude Brian Cook of Manchester in the GOP primary, 79-21%.

Caucuses and primaries have boosted the numbers to a paper Republican edge, but on Map Day, this was the very definition of a swing seat, with a  Democratic registration edge of ONE voter. It's the #27 Democratic seat and/or the #24 most Republican. So yeah. Critical for control.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Citizens for Willems, Dan Zumbach for Senate Willems is ready for battle with a near-leadership level $92,616.41 in the bank, including more than $31,000 raised in the post-primary weeks. Zumbach has $23,790.50 on hand.

House District 95
Registration: D 6342, R 6214, N 7581, total 20169, D +128
Open seat: incumbent Nate Willems, D-Lisbon running for Senate 48.

The Mt. Vernon-Lisbon area has been home base for several legislators in a row: Dave Osterberg, one-term Republican Lynn Schulte, Ro Foege, then Willems.

But new House 95 bears so little resemblance to the House 29 where Willems won two terms that you can't even really call it the same district. It adds most of north and east rural Linn County. That makes up 90% of a House district; the southeast corner of Buchanan gets thrown in to balance the Census count.

Republican Quentin Stanerson of Center Point, an economics teacher and wrestling coach, will face Democratic teacher Kristen Keast of Mt. Vernon.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Stanerson For State House, Keast For HD95 Keast picked up the fundraising pace with over $9000 in June-July, and has $12,213.25 in the bank. That gives her the lead over Stanerson with $8,434.54.

House District 96
Registration: D 4724, R 5961, N 7964, total 18654, R +1237
Incumbent: Lee Hein, R-Monticello, unopposed

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.

Hein, a former Monticello school board member, found himself in a My District Just Not My House pair-up with doomed Republican Brian Moore, and moved back into his district. This seat is both better than the one he left and better than the one he won two years ago, when Hein beat three term Democrat Ray Zirkelbach by about 800 votes. That seat had a 1400 Democrat registration edge. With Delaware County added, the seat turns redder.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Hein for State House

Senate District 48, House District 95 & 96: District of the Day 1 - 6/29/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 47, Iowa House District 93 & 94

Senate District 47
Registration: D 11607, R 14331, N 15918, total 41891, R +2724
Incumbent: Roby Smith, R-Davenport; holdover seat

Two consecutive incumbents have been knocked off in primaries here. In 2006, longtime moderate Maggie Tinsman lost to newcomer Dave Hartsuch, who then BARELY won the general over Phyllis Thede. Hartsuch lost a landslide to Bruce Braley in the 2008 congressional race, then lost his 2010 primary. The winner was Roby Smith, who had lost a 2006 House race one district to the west.

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. of the seat The district gains about 800 Republicans.

House District 93
Registration: D 6383, R 6239, N 7496, total 20139, D +144
Incumbent: Phyllis Thede, D-Bettendorf

Thede came back after her narrow Senate loss to beat Jamie Van Fossen (the son) 56-44% in 2008. 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. But she drew a weak Republican opponent in Mark Nelson, last seen on a ballot as the 2006 Libertarian nominee for lieutenant governor.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Thede for Iowa, Mark Nelson For Iowa Thede has $4,940.69  in the bank, not a lot for an incumbent. Nelson ha $2,740.61.

House District 94
Registration: D 5224, R 8092, N 8422, total 21752, R +2868
Incumbent: Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf

Miller knocked off moderate Joe Hutter in the same 2006 primary where Hartsuch teabagged Tinsman to death. She beat Hutter (as an independent) again in the general with no Democrat running.

Miller had no opposition in 2008 or 2010, but this cycle draws 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.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Concerned Citizens for Miller, Maria Bribriesco for Iowa Miller leads Bribriesco in cash on hand, $32,471.14 to $8,133.12.

Senate District 47, House District 93 & 94: District of the Day 1 - 6/28/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 46, Iowa House District 91 & 92

Senate District 46
Registration: D 11197, R 11644, N 15741, total 38595, R +447
Incumbents: Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon

Back on Map Day I didn't expect this one to go to a primary between fellow GOP incumbents Hamerlinck and Jim Hahn. Hamerlinck lives close to the district line and works in Clinton, so empty Senate 49 would have worked. Hahn turns 76 by Election Day 2012, and could have retired.

But instead the two duked it out in a half and half district. Hamerlinck won Scott by more than Hahn won Muscatine, for a fairly easy 61-39 win.

Democrats are ready to take on the survivor with Muscatine firefighter Chris Brase. The primary results helps, if you look at it as a Muscatine vs, Davenport thing rather than a D vs. R thing. This is the number 22 most Democratic Senate seat -- actually, probably less so, as GOP registration was boosted by the primary. In any case it's the toughest being defended by an incumbent Republican.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Committee to Elect Shawn Hamerlinck, Committee to Elect Chris Brase Brase has a big lead with $29,297.05in the bank. Hamerlinck spent $13,089.81 during the filing period, which includes the end of the primary, and has just $3,255.95 on hand.

House District 91
Registration: D 5688, R 6116, N 7385, total 19197, R +428
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: right on the line of House control, as Democratic seat 52 and Republican seat 49.

Democrats have recruited John Dabeet, chair of the Muscatine Community College business department. In a helpful pronunciation aid, his parade crew marches to that Go-Go's classic, "We Got Dabeet." No I'm not joking. But for my money no one will ever top Ro Foege's Ro-tilla of Ro Boats.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Committee to Elect John Dabeet, Team LOFGREN Lofgren has a solid $18,355.74 on hand. Dabeet trails at $3,217.64.

House District 92
Registration: D 5509, R 5528, N 8356, total 19398, R +19
Incumbent: Ross Paustian, R-Walcott

In with the wave, out with the wave. No one really gave Democrat Elesha Gayman a chance in 2006, when she shocked Jim (The Elder) Van Fossen and set a record, since broken by Anesa Kajtazovic, as the youngest woman elected to the legislature. She won a tough battle with Farm Bureau-backed republican Ross Paustian in 2008, then unexpectedly stepped down just before the 2010 deadline and moved out of state.
Paustian had never stopped running. Democrat Sheri Carnahan made a serious 2010 effort, but Paustian won with 57%.

The lines shifts north in Davenport (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. It The district keeps almost the same lean on paper. It's Republican by 19 voters now, the second closest margin in the state, but that's after high primary turnout in the Senate race.

The Democrat, former senator Frank Wood, is attempting a comeback on the House side. Wood 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.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Paustian for State House, Wood for State House Advantage Paustian, with $24,609.54 on hand to Wood's $6,171.78.

Senate District 46, House District 91 & 92: District of the Day 1 - 6/27/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 45, Iowa House District 89 & 90

Senate District 45
Registration: D 13869, R 7189, N 14883, total 35959, D +6680
Incumbent: Joe Seng, D-Davenport; holdover seat

After his bizarre congressional primary challenge to Dave Loebsack, which he lost 80-20%, Senator Doctor Seng settles back in to hold over till 2014. In a district this blue, about 700 Democrats stronger than his old turf, an anti-choice, pro-corporate ag "Democrat" could be vulnerable to a primary challenge of his own. I'm just sayin'.

House District 89
Registration: D 6775, R 4497, N 8100, total 19382, D +2278
Incumbent: Jim Lykam, D-Davenport

Lykam won one term in 1988, got knocked off by Steve Grubbs in `90, then came back on friendlier turf in 2002, friendly enough that he drew a bye in 2010. 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.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Friends of Jim Lykam, EDMOND FOR IOWA While Edmond seems like a credible contender, his $1,793.62 cash on hand makes it look like this race isn't a Republican priority. Lykam has a solid incumbent bank account at $22,209.75.

House District 90
Registration: D 7094, R 2692, N 6783, total 16577, D +4402
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.

The district shifts south and west, and expands outside the city limit to include the city of Buffalo. The changes make the seat even more Democratic.

The anti-Winckler vote gets split in two. Republicans called a late convention and nominated Some Dude Ryan Roberson. Independent candidate Mark Riley won 38% in 2010 as the Republican nominee against Senator Doctor Seng.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Winckler for State House Roberson and Riley did not raise enough to report.

Senate District 45, House District 89 & 90: District of the Day 1 - 6/24/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 44, Iowa House District 87 & 88

Senate District 44
Registration: D 14738, R 10220, N 12526, total 37501, D +4518
Incumbent: Tom Courtney, D-Burlington

Courtney slid comfortably into an open seat here in 2002 seat without GOP opposition (he beat an independent Some Dude). The Republicans finally tried in `08; David Kerr only scored 40% but carried Louisa.

This cycle, Republican Bradley Bourn is running. He's emphasizing his military background with a giant monster truck-caper parade vehicle pained in green camouflage; looks like the Urban Assault Vehicle from Stripes.

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.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Courtney for State Senate Committee, Bourn for Senate Courtney has $9,631.33 in the bank to Bourne's $1,733.72.

House District 87
Registration: D 8825, R 4089, N 5918, total 18846, D +4736
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 a 1987 special, 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.

This year Cohoon has two opponents. Dan Cahill, a sitting Des Moines County supervisor, filed as an independent in House District 87. Cahill was elected to the Board as a Democrat in 2008, pledging to serve only one term, and did not seek re-nomination in the June primary. Self-described "Libertarian Republican" Andrew Wilson has the GOP ballot line.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Cohoon for Representative Wilson and Cahill did not raise enough money to report.

House District 88
Registration: D 5913, R 6131, N 6608, total 18655, R +218
Incumbent: Tom Sands, R-Wapello

This is the descendant 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. The toughest challenge was in 2008, when former Columbus City mayor Frank Best held him to just 53%. Despite that, the Ways and Means chair got a bye in 2010.

The chunk of rural Muscatine expands to restore most of the northern tier of Muscatine County: West Liberty, Atalissa, Moscow. But that area has changed a lot, becoming more Hispanic and Democratic. This census both West Liberty and Conesville reported Hispanic majorities in the census, with Columbus Junction just short at 48%.

That opens up a big opportunity for Democrat Sara Sedlacek of West Liberty, a small business owner and grant writer. This is a must-win for both teams, as the number 47 Democratic seat.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Committee to Elect Sara Sedlacek, Sands for State House Who would have pegged this poor, rural turf for a high-dollar race? Sands has a leadership level $70,680.04 on hand. Yet Sedlacek has proven to be an outstanding fundraiser, with $27,304.54.

Senate District 44, House District 87 & 88: District of the Day 1 - 6/23/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 43, Iowa House District 85 & 86

Senate District 43
Registration: D 18420, R 6915, N 12971, total 38475, D +11505
Incumbent: Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City; holdover seat

Ah, home sweet home. Bolkcom holds over in the most Democratic seat in the state, which includes most of Iowa City.  Republicans last ran a state senate candidate in the Iowa City based district in 1986.

House District 85
Registration: D 9956, R 3833, N 7117, total 21012, D +6123.
Incumbent: Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, unopposed

The number one Democratic House district in the state becomes an entirely Iowa City district for the first time. In 2000 Lensing had University Heights; last decade she had two rural fragments.

Lensing won a competitive primary and a less competitive general election in 2000 when the seat was open, and that's the last time she saw any opposition at all.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Lensing for House District #78 (sic)

House District 86
Registration: D 8464, R 3082, N 5854, total 17463, D +5382
Incumbent: Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, unopposed

My home district is the number three Democratic seat. The hardest part of Mascher's race was moving day. Her precinct was the one that got moved into Dave Jacoby's seat, so she moved back into a district that resembles her 1990s turf, except for a weird panhandle down to Hills (which is so Democratic even I was able to win it).

Mascher last saw a Republican opponent in her second term back in 1996. There was a Some Dude independent in 2008.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Committee to Elect Mascher

Senate District 43, House District 85 & 86: District of the Day 1 - 6/22/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 42, Iowa House District 83 & 84

Senate District 42
Registration: D 13344, R 10936, N 13501, total 37812, D +2408
Open seat; Gene Fraise, D-Ft. Madison retiring.

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

Lee County makes up 59% of this district, with Henry making up 33% and the rest in the the leftovers of Washington and Jefferson. So basically the same seat Fraise had adjusted for population; not much you can change about lines when you're in a corner of the state. The messing at the margins shaves about 500 Democrats off the party registration edge.

Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland was the early Democratic favorite, but he dropped out shortly before his death from cancer in March. His campaign chair Donna Amandus ran, but finished second in the primary behind labor activist Rich Taylor of Mt. Pleasant, 50-35%. Third candidate Bob Morawitz polled 15%.

The leading Republican, Lee County Supervisor Larry Kruse, announced before Fraise's retirement was official. He easily won his primary against former congressional candidate Lee Harder, 71-29%.

Independent Michael Garmoe announced his candidacy early in the year but has been way below the radar.

Party ID favors Taylor; each candidate has a base in the opposite party's county, but Lee County is more Democratic than Henry County is Republican.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Kruse for Senate, Rich Taylor Campaign Fund Kruse has $5,402.17 on hand. Taylor trails with $3,193.08, but he was spending on a tougher primary.

House District 83
Registration: D 8705, R 3455, N 6445, total 18627, D +5250
Incumbent: Jerry Kearns, D-Keokuk

Kearns picked up the Keokuk-Ft. Madison seat in 2008 when Phil Wise retired. He won with a clear majority in a three way primary, then won the general with 60%. He then beat a late-starting tea-oriented Republican handily in 2010.

This year's Republican, Jim Steffen, started late too. He tried to get nominated as a primary write-in, but that's harder than it would seem, so Republicans had a convention. He has the toughest turf of any Republican on the ballot: the number four Democratic seat.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Steffen for House, Kearns for State Representative Committee Kaarns has just $2,982.92 on hand, not much for an incumbent. But Steffen is at just $475.

House District 84
Registration: D 4639, R 7481, N 7056, total 19185, R +2842
Incumbent: Dave Heaton, R-Mt. Pleasant

Democrats have made a couple feints at serious runs since Heaton went to the House in 1994, but haven't come close. 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. The seemingly small changes this decade boost Heaton's partisan edge by about 800 registered Republicans.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Citizens for Heaton

Senate District 42, House District 83 & 84: District of the Day 1 - 6/21/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 41, Iowa House District 81 & 82

Senate District 41
Registration: D 14188, R 11175, N 11453, total 36859, D +3013
Incumbent: Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa; holdover seat

Mark "Chickenman" Chelgren, whose claim to fame was his party hardy RAGBRAI persona, was the fluke of the year in 2010, 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. The line changes cut out the latter two and send him east toward blue-trending Fairfield. Senator Chickenman will have a tough ride in 2014.

House District 81
Registration: D 8220, R 4397, N 5527, total 18154, D +3823
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. In 2002 Gaskill, the former county auditor, won a close primary and settled in.
Republicans made a serious effort in 2010 with Jane Holody; even Mike Huckabee took an interest. But Gaskill earned a 57% win, probably the low point for this seat.

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.

Young Republican Blake Smith easily defeated former (`08) independent candidate Rick McClure in the primary, 75-25%.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Gaskill for State Representative, Smith for Iowa House Gaskill has $7,868.82 on hand to Smith's $1,106.10.

House District 82
Registration: D 5968, R 6778, N 5926, total 18705, R +810
Incumbent Curt Hanson, D-Fairfield

Fairfield was the center of the Iowa political universe in late summer 2009, when this seat opened up for a special election. 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, and less than 50%, over Republican Steve Burgmeier. Two independent conservative candidates 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.

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.

Bloomfield's James Johnson lost to Swaim by just 76 votes in 2010. Campaign for Liberty activist Jeff Shipley of Fairfield, who ran for Iowa City council in 2009, filed for the primary but withdrew by the deadline.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Johnson for St Rep, Curt Hanson for State Representative The incumbent has the money edge with $7,043.30 on hand; Johnson has $1,609.54.

Senate District 41, House District 81 & 82: District of the Day 1 - 6/20/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 40, Iowa House District 79 & 80

Senate District 40
Registration: D 10118, R 15642, N 12388, total 38175, R +5524
Open seat; Tom Rielly, D-Oskaloosa, retiring

It's hard to even call this "Rielly's" district, the lines have changed so much. 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.

The numbers make Republican Ken Rozenboom, a Mahaska County supervisor, a heavy favorite. The line was blank on the Democratic primary ballot, as Rielly retired days before the filing deadline. Like Republican Jeff Kaufmann, he's running for the Board of Supervisors instead. And like the Sally Stutsman seat in Johnson, the main excitement may be filling Rozenboom's supervisor seat post-election.

The Democrats have recriuted a credible candidate, attorney and Pella school board member Tim Tripp. But this is the number 7 Republican district, the toughest that Democrats are contesting this cycle.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Rozenboom for Senate, The late-starting Tripp is competitive in cash on hand with $4,369.54. Rozenboom has $5,168.44, but he started raising and spending earlier.

House District 79
Registration: D 3818, R 9075, N 5941, total 18849, R +5257
Incumbent: Guy Vander Linden, R-Oskaloosa

UPDATE September 20: Democrat Wilson has moved out of state.

Two years ago this was a top tier race as Vander Linden beat two-term Democrat Eric Palmer in a dead-even Oskaloosa-Grinnell seat.

The new map changed everything. Two similar sized cities that had always been the anchors of different legislative districts, Oskaloosa and Pella, got drawn tohether. Pella's Jim Van Engelenhoeven is retiring, and freshman Guy Vander Linden inherits what's now a safe seat (#7 most Republican). The top six are uncontested, so no Democrat running this year has tougher turf than Chris Wilson of Oskaloosa.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: VANDER LINDEN FOR IOWA Wilson had not raised enough money to form a committee.

House District 80
Registration: D 6300, R 6567, N 6447, total 19326, R +267
No Incumbent

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. It's right on the line for House control: tied for number 49 most Democratic/number 51 most Republican.

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 Moulton-Udell school board member, is the Republican. He filed in 2010 in the old Kurt Swaim seat, but dropped out before the withdrawal deadline.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Sheets For Iowa House, Judge for Iowa Judge has a huge money lead with $20,786.21 on hand. Sheets has just $993.92.

Senate District 40, House District 79 & 80: District of the Day 1 - 6/17/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 39, Iowa House District 77 & 78

Senate District 39
Registration: D 11922, R 12525, N 13523, total 37991, R +603
Incumbent: Sandy Greiner, R-Keota; holdover seat

Greiner was the only Senator to vote against The Map, but at least she gets two extra years to get to know a new district that's half in the People's Republic of Johnson County.

After a two year hiatus, Greiner knocked off Democrat Becky Schmitz in 2010 in a district that included the southwest corner of Johnson, but went south to the Missouri border: Washington, Jefferson, Van Buren, and eastern Wapello.

Now the district shifts north. She keeps almost all of Washington, and in a bit of good news gets back her original base in Keokuk County. but the expanded turf in Johnson County more than negates that.

House District 77
Registration: D 6865, R 4986, N 7105, total 18966, D +1879
No incumbent

High growth North Liberty and Tiffin anchor a new, all Johnson County seat. It starts with Swisher and Shueyville, picks up Tiffin and Oxford, and ends up in Lone Tree, wrapping around and not including the city of Hills.

Democrats have a top tier candidate in Sally Stutsman, who's won five county-wide elections for supervisor. Her lone career loss was for the House in 2000, but that was in a solid GOP seat based in Louisa and Muscatine, and she did far better than the Some Dude who lost four years earlier.

Steve Sherman of North Liberty is a Christian author. He also hosted a house party for Rick Santorum back before the caucuses, and GOP base hero Matt Schultz is coming in for an event this month.. He's the first Republican to file for an all-Johnson seat since the 2003 Dave Jacoby special election.

The biggest excitement in this race could be the aftermath. Stutsman was re-elected in 2010 and a win would mean a mid-term vacancy on the Board of Supervisors.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Sherman In The House, Stutsman for State House Stutsman has $8,302.62 cash on hand;  Sherman has $1,250.66.

House District 78
Registration: D 5057, R 7539, N 6418, total 19025, R +2482
Incumbents: Jarad Klein, R-Keota, unopposed

Just two years ago, Democrats held this seat; now they don't even have a candidate.

When Greiner left the House seat in 2008, her chosen successor was Klein. But the 2008 wave crested high enough to elect Democrat Larry Marek by 157 votes. Marek had a good biographical fit for the district, but was a little less of a fit for the House Democrats, and he aligned with the Six Pack of conservaDems. He was largely left to fend for himself at re-election time, even as the party was going all out for his senator, Becky Schmitz, on the same turf. The rematch coincided with the 2010 counter-wave and Klein won handily.

The new lines help Klein, even though the party balance doesn't change much. This is still the Washington County seat, though a bit gets carved out.  Klein also drops eastern Jefferson County and the whole part of Johnson, and gets he gets all of strong Republican Keokuk County. With that he got a fellow Republican House member, Betty DeBoef, who waited till early November to announce retirement.

Klein easily dismissed primary challenger Priscilla Marlar, 82-18%.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Klein for Statehouse

Senate District 39, House District 77 & 78: District of the Day 1 - 6/16/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/17/2012