Saturday, August 18, 2012

District Of The Day 3: Iowa Senate District 19, This Is Where Your District Went and Iowa House 38

Senate District 19
Registration: D 11533, R 15078, N 11859, total 38518, R +3545
Incumbent: Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny; holdover seat

Ankeny doesn't have primaries, it has conventions. The first one was in January 2011, when just re-elected Senator Larry Noble resigned to join the Branstad 5.0 Administration.  After six candidates and five ballot, the winner was ex-Cyclone footballer and Drake law student Jack Whitver, who had lost a 2006 House race on about as different a turf as you can imagine, inner city Des Moines, to Ako Abdul-Samad.

After the convention, the special election itself was just a formality (63%-37%) And the only new territory he needs to learn before 2014 is whatever new subdivision gets built. Senate 19 sheds almost a whole House district worth of population to the west, as Ankeny is 3/4 of a Senate district in population.

This Is Where Your District Went
Registration: D 5380, R 8611, N 6151, total 20168, R +3231
No incumbent, no Democratic candidate

Is there anyone who reads this blog who does not know that This Is Where Your District Went means House 37? I even count that way now: 34, 35, 36, This Is Where Your District Went, 38, 39... For those who don't get it, read the original post.

Ankeny has grown enough in the past decade that, for the first time, it gets split into two House districts. Old House District 70 was, basically, the city of Ankeny, which with its 2000 population of 27,000 was about 90% of a House seat. By 2010 Ankeny had grown to more than 45,000 and now dominates two House seats.

The empty northern seat is the more Republican of the two and attracted six GOP primary candidates, the biggest field in the state. Everyone was betting on this going to a special convention with no one breaking 35%. Everyone except Jim Robidoux , who set out to win it all on Primary Day and almost did it, falling just 20 votes short. He tried to make the People's Choice argument at the convention, but got just one of the 23 central committee votes and was eliminated on the first ballot.

Two other candidates focused on getting their people onto the central committee. Ron Paulite Matt DeVries finished second in the voting, close behind Robidoux, and was expected to win the convention But instead, the nod went to third place candidate John Landon, who won just 15% on Primary Day yet won the nomination by one vote at the convention.

TheIowaRepublican's Craig Robinson decried the process:
It’s surprising to me how easily the convention delegates disregarded the primary vote.  I understand that this is the process when no candidate receives 35 percent of the vote, but completely ignoring the will of the people could have future consequences that are not good for Landon or the Republican Party.
Ironically, Robinson lives in the Ankeny-based district -- and voted for Landon in the primary.

With sore feelings like that, I thought one of the "losers" might go independent, but the only one who filed, one N. John Boehm (Some Dude-Ankeny), was not among the also-rans. Democrat Neal Tracy filed in March, but took his name off the ballot.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Friends for Landon

House District 38
Registration: D 6153, R 6467, N 5708, total 18350, R +314
Incumbent: Kevin Koester, R-Ankeny

This is the tipping point of the House: the 51st most Democratic seat.

Koester is in an odd position. Just two years ago he sailed into his second term unopposed. Then he tried for the move up at the Senate convention, but not only lost -- he was the second of six candidates eliminated, denied without even the bronze to show for it.

So it seemed he might be vulnerable to one of the many primary challenges that were in the water this June... but the only opposition came from perennial candidate Brett Nelson. Koester easily dispatched him, as he had in 2008. Some states have what they call "sore loser" laws which prevent defeated primary candidates from running in the general election. Iowa, however, does not, so Nelson is back as an independent and presumably declaring his 85-15% primary loss only a flesh wound.

The more serious threat comes from the Democrat, former Des Moines School Board member John Phoenix. This the more Democratic Ankeny seat, going south to the Des Moines city limits.

July 19 Campaign Finance Report: Kevin Koester for House, John Phoenix for House, Koester isn't taking it for granted, with $16,777.55 on hand. Phoenix has $4,925.46, with $500 in recent labor money. Nelson did not have a committee for either the primary or independent runs.

Senate District 19, This Is Where Your District Went and House District 38: District of the Day 1 - 5/19/2011 | District of the Day 2 - 3/16/2012

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