Friday, August 17, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 4, Iowa House District 7 & 8

Senate District 4
Registration: D 10826, R 14999, N 15189, total 41024, R +4173
No Incumbent

Last summer I was laughing at Tea Partier Dennis Guth, who seemingly hadn't gotten the message that this open, five county (Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, Emmett and Wright) seat was supposed to be Stu Iverson's route back to the Senate. After reading about one of his early appearances, I thought Guth was the comic relief contender:
Guth joined the campaign to unseat three Supreme Court justices - a campaign that was successful in last November's justice retention vote.

"I was very pleased that God allowed us to do that," Guth said.

Addressing a question about preschools, Guth said mothers should be staying home to care for their children, not sending them to preschool.

Guth stressed his strong support of the Second Amendment, saying he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Guth criticized government mandates such as mental health. "I don't think we need to be mandating things that we don't support," he said.
The joke's on me. Not only did Iverson not even run, but the candidate he and Terry Branstad backed, former Senator Jim Black, lost to Guth in the primary, 52-47%. So the guy who's both "against mental health" AND is carrying a concealed weapon is the Republican nominee in a pretty good Republican district.

Democrats are well positioned to take advantage of the Republican's questionable choice. Bob Jennings of Algona is information director for Algona Municipal Utilities, ex-Chamber of Commerce chair, and a former news director for KLGA radio in Algona. Despite the unfavorable turf - this is the third toughest seat Democrats are contesting this year -  this is one to watch.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Bob Jennings Committee To Elect For State Senate, Guth for Senate Jennings had $4,213.49 on hand. Guth, coming out of a contested primary, had $3,796.08. Looks like this race would be a cheap investment.

House District 7
Registration: D 5948, R 6710, N 8184, total 20849, R +762
Incumbent: John Wittneben, D-Estherville

Wittneben was one of the Dem's few bright spots in 2010, holding an open lean-Democratic district by just 32 votes when Marcy Frevert retired. (It helped that Republicans scuttled their own candidate, Lannie Miller.) But the new district loses 1200 Democrats to become a swing seat. Wittneben loses the Frevert base of Palo Alto but keeps his own Emmet County base and rural north Kossuth. But significantly, he adds the city of Algona.

Tedd Gassman has been Winnebago County GOP chair and a school board member. He beat Mark Frakes in the primary, 56-44%.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Gassman for House, Wittneben for State Representative Wittneben has $3,845.66 on hand, not much for an incumbent, yet he has the edge. Gassman had just $1,032.59 on hand, only raised $630 post-primary, and has $3750 in outstanding loans.

House District 8
Registration: D 4879, R 8290, N 7015, total 20187, R +3411
Incumbents: Henry Rayhons, R-Garner, unopposed

Like the Senate race, this one turned out weird. District 8 was the only three-incumbent seat on Map Day, and septuagenarian Rayhons looked like the odd man out between Iverson and majority leader Linda Upmeyer.

But Iverson stood down after a one-term return; in retrospect, it looks like his job was simply to knock off Democrat McKinley Bailey in 2010.  Upmeyer moved, and so Rayhons was left standing.

Rayhons nevertheless got a primary, from minister Bob Dishman, but won by a fairly solid 58-42% margin. And that was the ball game, with no Democrat running.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Rayhons for Representative

Senate District 4, House District 7 & 8: District of the Day 1 - 4/28/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/16/2012

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