Friday, August 17, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 8, Iowa House District 15 & 16

Senate District 8
Registration: D 10606, R 10020, N 10720, total 31384, D +586
Incumbent: Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs

No race has slid down the charts more than this one. Republicans now seem content on trying to make Majority Leader Gronstal the Minority Leader, rather than defeating him outright.

True, Mike got a lucky break in redistricting, getting the least changed district in the state, one that includes almost every Democrat in a 50 mile radius.

But the real failure is in recruitment. Republican Al Ringgenberg has proven to be a much weaker than expected candidate, especially at fundraising.

July 19 Campaign Finance Reports: Citizens for Gronstal, Patriots for Col Al Ringgenberg Ringgenberg's bank balance is $6,987.91, but there's $2000 in loans out and over $2500 in bills to be paid. You'd think all he'd have to do is say "I'm running against Mike Gronstal," and Republican donors would simply ask "how do you spell your name" as they pulled out checkbooks.

And mere mortals cannot compete with the champ. Governor Gronstal has a cool half mill in the bank. $547,158.39 to be precise. And unless Ringgenberg steps up his game, Mike can ship that all over the state to Democratic Senate candidates in distress. Remember those low four figure sums in a few of the other districts?

Sure, in the post-Citizens United era, money can appear at the last second from no one knows where. But money follows money, and the players are going to place their bets on someone who looks like a winner. I'm betting we won't have to worry about calling him Senator Colonel Ringgenberg like a certain Senator Doctor from the other end of the state.

House District 15
Registration: D 5632, R 4282, N 5421, total 15356, D +1350
Incumbent: Mark Brandenburg, R-Council Bluffs

House District 16
Registration: D 4974, R 5738, N 5299, total 16028, R +764
Incumbent: Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs

Where Republicans had a Senate recruiting problem, Democrats struggled with the Council Bluffs House seats.

Former Bush 43 White House aide Hanusa, last second replacement nominee for Secretary of State in 2006, beat Kurt Hubler in 2010 to hold old House 99, a relatively even open seat, for the Republicans. Brandenburg, a former school board member coming off a 58-42 loss to Gronstal in 2008, then knocked off Paul Shomshor in Democratic leaning old 100.

The two freshmen got paired up, and Hanusa quickly called dibs on the seat they shared, the more Republican 16. Brandenburg, with some apparant reluctance, finally said on February 2 that he was taking the short straw and moving to 15, making made him the last paired-up legislator to announce his plans.

Democrats held both seats briefly in 2004, after Shomshor's special election win but before Doug Struyk's filing deadline switch to the GOP. Yet the two house contenders this cycle seem low profile. I see almost nothing about Brandenburg's opponent, George Warren Yaple. It's even a bit unclear whether he goes by his first or middle name. (UPDATE: I'm informed it's Warren.)

July 19 Campaign Finance Reports: Brandenburg for Iowa House, YAPLE FOR IOWA Brandenburg has $15,378.02  on hand. Yaple looks like he just got started post-primary and has $2,614.86.

House 16 saw what looks like both the closest and the lowest turnout contested House primary in the state. Democrat Heidi Guggisberg-Coners topped Ron Pierce by nine votes, 168 to 159, even though she had dropped out of the race. Perhaps that was a boost of confidence as she dropped back in.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Iowans for Mary Ann Hanusa, $12,154.29 on hand, Heidi Guggisberg-Coners for CB 2012 $1,330 (starting from zero at the primary.)

Senate District 8, House District 15 & 16: District of the Day 1 - 5/04/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/16/2012

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