District of the Day: Senate District 37, House Districts 73 and 74
Senate District 37
Registration: D 14731, R 9499, N 13327, total 37,613, D + 5232
Incumbent: Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville
One of the biggest surprises of the whole map for me was that Bob Dvorsky did not get pulled all the way into Johnson County. The People's Republic was the second fastest growing part of the state in the last decade, behind only Dallas County. We are now big enough for a second whole Senate district. Most of that growth has been in Dvorsky's old district, in places like Tiffin, North Liberty, Solon, and the I-380 corridor.
We did get our fourth whole House seat (check back Thursday for that) but instead of getting that paired with his Coralville base, Dvorsky was sent east for the first time, picking up all of Cedar County and the city of Wilton in Muscatine County, all of which had been in Muscatine Republican Jim Hahn's territory. Bob's original House district, which he won in 1986, went west to Iowa County. When he went to the Senate in a hurry-up February 1994 mid-session special (infamous for an election day blizzard) he got a half-Johnson, half Linn district. The Linn part shrank in 2001, moving out of Cedar Rapids and becoming about a 75% Johnson seat, but the basic configuration remained.
Within Johnson, Dvorsky sheds ground to the west this decade: Tiffin, North Liberty, Oxford, Swisher, Shueyville. He keeps Coralville, Solon, and Penn Township (the rural subdivisions north of Iowa City) and the northeast corner of the county. He also adds one precinct on the west side of Iowa City (for my locals: Iowa City 9).
Though this remains maybe a 60% Johnson County district, the addition of swingy Cedar County and heavily Republican Wilton costs Dvorsky nearly 2,500 registered Democrats. But with a still solid margin he can afford it. Republicans last bothered opposing Dvorsky in 2002; he beat a Libertarian in 2010 and holds over till 2014.
House District 73
Registration: D 6518, R 5718, N 7589, total 19841, D+ 800
Incumbent: Jeff Kaufmann, R-Wilton
Kaufmannn took over for Dan Boddicker in 2004 and has risen quickly in House GOP leadership. The old seat was almost dead-even with a Democratic registration edge of 29 as of this April. But he's been lucky with opponents. A well-funded 2006 race netted just 37%; a 2008 self-starter quit the race but neglected to take her name off the ballot, and a late-starting Dem polled just 27% in 2010 (worse than Name On The Ballot did in 2008).
But Kaufmann has more to worry about next year than the collapse of the Newt Gingrich campaign. While he keeps all of Cedar County and the GOP stronghold of Wilton, he loses the northern tier of Muscatine County: West Liberty, Atalissa and Moscow. Instead he inherits a much larger portion of the People's Republic. Last decade he had two townships, trailer court dominated Scott and negligibly small Lincoln. He keeps Scott and adds four townships to the north (Newport, Big Grove, Graham and Cedar) plus the city of Solon.
Kaufmann was one of the handful of no votes on The Map. He said it was because Cedar County was put in an urban-based Senate district. But it's worth noting that the partisan balance shifts in his own seat, which now has a Democratic registration edge of 800. West Branch city council member David Johnson has announced on the Democratic side, and other names are in the rumor mill.
House District 74
Registration: D 8213, R 3781, N 5738, total 17772, D+ 4432
Incumbent: Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville
Big growth means big changes in Dave Jacoby's lines, but District Draws Itself math means Coralville stays in one piece and dominates whatever House district it's in. Jacoby went from the city council to the House in the summer of 2003 when then minority leader Dick Myers retired. That special election, which Jacoby won with 71%, was the last time Republicans ran a candidate. In fact, Jacoby's 2010 opponent actually left the GOP to run as a Libertarian, a sign of just how weak the GOP brand is in Johnson County. He didn't do much worse at 20%.
Earlier in the year, Jacoby had handled a bizarre labor-backed primary challenge (the opponent dropped out after the withdrawal deadline, then at the last minute hinted at dropping back in), winning 88% to 12%.
North Liberty grew so much that it has to be split from Coralville for the first time. Jacoby also gives up Tiffin and picks up one precinct on the west side of Iowa City. (That happened to be Mary Mascher's precinct; she quickly announced her move back into her district, now numbered 86.) Jacoby's new district has 1000 fewer Democrats than the old, but that's more a function of shedding the excess population rather than changes in the strong Democratic edge.
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