District of the Day: Senate District 24, House Districts 47 and 48
Senate District 24
Registration: D 12565, R 12944, N 15395, total 40931, R+ 379
Incumbent: Jerry Behn, R-Boone
Behn, 57, went to the Senate in 1996, knocking off Democratic incumbent Al Sorensen. Sorensen made a comeback attempt in 2008 but lost 59% to 41%. That must have fueled Behn's ambitions, and he launched a brief, inexplicable run for governor in 2009, until his constituent Terry Branstad got into the race.
A lot changes for Behn with this map. He keeps his Boone County base, in fact he now has the whole county. But he loses more constituents than he keeps, because the old lines went south to take in most of Dallas County, which now dominates TWO new districts. Indeed, Behn's old turf had the second most registered voters of any Senate district, behind only Jack Whitver in Ankeny. Behn keeps none of that high-growth Dallas turf. Instead, he gets bits of Story and Webster and all of Hamilton and Greene. Losing Dallas County costs Behn about 3,000 registered Republicans and turns this into a swing district. It's even numbered, which means Behn runs next year.
House District 47
Registration: D 6574, R 6499, N 8095, total 21184, D+ 75
Incumbent: Chip Baltimore, R-Boone
Republican Chip Baltimore won one of 2010's biggest upsets and closest races, defeating Democrat Donovan Olson by just 23 votes in a seat with an 1100 Democratic registration edge.
Baltimore keeps most of Boone County, including the city and everything west. A few townships shift around on the east. He gives up Perry in north Dallas county, an area that Olson won. Instead gets all of Greene County. This changes the margin from a Democratic seat to a very close swing seat. Still, this is the kind of place Democrats need to win back if they want to recapture the House.
House District 48
Registration: D 5991, R 6445, N 7300, total 19747, R+ 454
No Incumbent (Lisa Heddens, D-Ames, moving to House 46)
UPDATE June 7: Heddens makes move to 46 official; former Sen. Rich Olive (D-Story City) announces for House 48
UPDATE September 9: Senator Rob Bacon is moving in and will have a rematch with Olive.
Update Oct. 7: Olive out.
Hamilton County makes up about half of this district. That was home base for two-term Democrat McKinley Bailey, who lost to Stew Iverson in 2010. The new seat also includes parts of rural Boone County, southeast Webster County and a little corner of Story, going all the way up to the Ames city limits. New 48 is good Republican territory, but not great, and could be winnable for the right Democrat.
But it's really unfamiliar territory for Lisa Heddens, the Ames-based legislator who lives in that one township just north of the city limits. She's announced her move back into 46, which opens up a slot for Landslide Rich Olive.
Olive, as you may recall, started out in 2006 challenging Iverson. But then Stew quit the race after being deposed as Senate GOP leader. The wave of `06 crested high enough to sweep Olive in by 61 votes over the GOP replacement candidate, then-Rep. Jim Kurtenbach.
It was in with the wave, out with the wave for Olive, who lost to Rob Bacon last year. But that Senate seat was fairly Republican, with a registration edge of 3290. This seat has a Republican edge of 454, putting it into swing territory.
The Republican this seat could be an escape route for is David Tjepkes, paired with tea party freshman Tom Shaw. He lives in Gowrie, just a few miles beyond the lines. But there's very little overlap with his old turf, which ran south to Greene and west to Calhoun.
So that could be a problem. But it's nothing compared to the problems for Republicans we'll see tomorrow.
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