Saturday, August 18, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 34, Iowa House District 67 & 68

Senate District 34
Registration: D 11807, R 13003, N 14861, total 39715, R +1196
Incumbent: Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids

There's a lot of competition, but without question THIS is the wackiest race in the state.

Less than a year ago, Republicans were battling for the right to run in the Marion senate race. It was Terry Branstad's Masterplan: kick conservaDem Swati Dandekar upstairs to the utility commission, win the Senate seat in a special, and boom, we have a tied Senate and welcome to Wisconsin.

But the Democrats won it before it even started. They'd been courting popular ex-TV anchor Liz Mathis for years to get her to run for office, and she finally said yes. And once she won the special, serious Republicans were scared off from the full term race.

One non-serious Republican stepped forward: Randi Shannon, who was a little extreme on rhetoric and had a residence issue (she reportedly lived in Johnson County, way outside the lines) but seemed like your garden variety Ron Paul tea partier.

Until the 4th of July. I gotta play this again:
Let me now announce to everyone in Iowa, I have become aware of the existence of the Original Republic for The United States of America.“We the People” re-inhabited our lawful de jure (de jur- “by right of lawful establishment”) government on March 30th, 2010. This is The Republic founded in 1787 and then abandoned during The Civil War in the 1860s. It was then replaced in 1871 by the UNITED STATES CORPORATION. (de facto-without law). This Unlawful Corporate Democracy, established by the forty-first congress, has been acting as though it is the “official government” which clearly it is not! Where the de jure Republic of The United States of America exists the de facto UNITED STATES CORPORATION, having no standing, must go away!
Now, knowing this, and with the best interests of The People of Iowa District 34 uppermost in my heart and out of respect for my own conscience, I am here to announce that I am ending my campaign as of this July 4th, 2012. I have accepted the position of U.S. Senator in The Republic of The United States of America, where I may better serve You and All of The People of Iowa. I want you to know I have taken an Oath to Uphold, Support and Defend The Constitution of The United States of America. This I will do to the best of my ability, So Help Me God.
Shannon's secession made national News Of The Weird headlines, and left the Republicans aghast, relieved, and with one small problem. Having bragged that they had a candidate in EVERY Senate seat, they had to replace Shannon on the ballot, and they were back to that problem of no serious Republican wanting to be the sacrificial lamb against Mathis.

The only non-serious one who stepped up was another Ron Paul type with another residency issue: Ryan Flood, last seen on the Paul campaign living in Texas. Oh, you two know each other? Yes, Flood was on Shannon's campaign finance reports as committee chair.

With all that, I'm surprised the Republicans even called the special convention. Mathis, meanwhile is out and about campaigning for other Senate Democrats.

What else. Oh, yeah, the line changes. Those were an issue in the special election. Mathis lives inside both old Senate 18, where the special was held and new Senate 34.
Republican nominee Cindy Golding, however, lives in new Senate 48 and said she would run for re-election there if she won the special. (She eventually decided not to run.)

The geography changes a lot, but more than half the seat is still Marion. More than any other in the state, this district looks like it was drawn by redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering. But it follows city limits and other regular boundaries; it's the city limits themselves that are a mess, a legacy of last decade's annexation war between Robins, Hiawatha, Cedar Rapids and Marion.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Mathis for State Senate Mathis took in $21,680 during the filing period and has $34,511.22 on hand, more likely to help other Senate Democrats than to be needed against Flood (who had not yet formed his committee).

House District 67
Registration: D 5444, R 6937, N 7305, total 19704, R +1493
Incumbent: Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha

Paulsen used to have a rural-urban mix and took in most of the land area of Linn County. Now he gets an all-metro district, losing eight small towns and three of the four corners of the county. Paulsen keeps Hiawatha and Robins, both of which grew in population and area last decade. He loses the part of Cedar Rapids between the south side of Hiawatha and 42nd Street (precinct 46 and 47). Instead he gets the Bowman Woods area northeast of Council Street and Collins Road (precincts 29, 30, 31). He also gets the 4th ward of Marion, which is basically everything north and west of Indian Creek and is the more Republican part of town.

The old district was a swing seat, with a slim Democratic edge, and Paulsen had relatively close races his first three terms. Then in 2008, his opponent dropped out after voting had already started; the name on the ballot with a D after it still got 42%. Soon after the 2008 election, he took over as Minority Leader from Christopher Rants, and that helped establish him to the point that he avoided opposition in 2010.

Renee Schulte's 2010 Democratic opponent, attorney Mark Seidl, was redrawn into the district and is challenging Paulsen. That was one of the few districts where Democrats looked like they were going to play offense. But there was too much defense in 2010 to play any offense, and Seidl fell about 1100 votes short.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Paulsen for State House Committee, Seidl for State Representative Seidl has $21,313.45 on hand. Not bad for one candidate seeking one seat. But Mr. Speaker has $319,847.68 in the bank to use where needed to try to keep 51 seats.

House District 68
Registration: D 6363, R 6066, N 7556, total 20011, D +297
Incumbent: Nick Wagner, R-Marion

Just five years ago, the late Mary Lundby was leading the Republicans in the Iowa Senate. Now, in a symbolically powerful indication of the demise of the moderate wing of the GOP, her son Daniel Lundby is running for the Marion House seat she once held... as a Democrat.

Lundby is challenging Republican Rep. Nick Wagner, who went to the House in 2008 in a seat shuffle prompted by Mary Lundby's retirement. Wagner had lost to Swati Dandekar in the 2006 House race, but by a credible margin. He came back to win the open seat race in 2008, one of the few GOP gains in that Democratic wave year. Surprisingly, Democrats made no effort at all in 2010.

Marion used to be a District Draws Itself seat. But for the first time this census, Marion is larger than a House district. The most Republican part of town is now in Paulsen's district. Wagner keeps the remaining three-fourths of Marion. But he loses the rural stuff he had to the north in Marion and Maine townships. Instead he goes south, picking up Bertram, and Ely. This turns a Republican leaning swing seat into a Democratic leaning swing seat.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Lundby for Iowa House, Nick Wagner for State House Wagner has a money edge, but not by a lot, with $23,734.56. Lundby has a healthy $17,512.18.

Senate District 34, House District 67 & 68: District of the Day 1 - 6/09/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/16/2012

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