The Iowa Secretary of State’s office announced that Democrat candidates in two Iowa House Districts requested a recount after close losses in Iowa House District 55 and Iowa House District 82.

Iowa does not have an automatic recount process, but candidates can request them.

Iowa House District 55

Kayla Koether, the Democratic challenger for State Representative Michael Bergan (R-Dorchester), requested a recount in Iowa House District 55, a northeastern Iowa district that comprises parts of Clayton, Fayette, and Winneshiek counties. 

Koether lost that race by seven votes. 

After the official canvass of that district, Bergan edged Koether out 50.00 percent (6919) to 49.95 percent (6912). Koether won the Winneshiek County precincts by 592 votes. Bergan won the precincts in Clayton and Fayette counties by 15 and 604 votes respectively. 

Recounts were requested in Clayton and Winneshiek counties only.

Bergan won his first term in 2016 defeating the Democrat nominee Pat Ritter 57.18 percent (8,943) to 42.82 percent (6,687) for the open seat. Republicans won the previously held Democrat seat in 2014 in a close race when Republican candidate Darrel Brahagen defeated Rick Edwards 50.1 percent (5,962) to 49.9 percent (5935).

Republicans hold voter registration advantage in the district – 6,520 Republicans, 5,881 Democrats, and 7,143 “no party” voters.

Iowa House District 82

State Representative Phil Miller (D-Fairfield) requested a recount in his loss to Republican challenger Jeff Shipley in Iowa House District 82, a southeastern Iowa district that encompasses all of Davis and Van Buren counties, and part of Jefferson County. 

After the official canvass of that district, Shipley defeated Miller by 34 votes – 50.07 percent (6,111) to 49.79 percent (6,077). Miller defeated Shipley in the Jefferson County precincts by 1,589 votes. Shipley won Davis County by 927 votes and won Van Buren County by 696 votes. 

Miller requested a recount in Jefferson and Van Buren counties only.

Miller first won his seat in a special election in August of 2017 following the death of State Representative Curt Hanson (D-Fairfield). He defeated the Republican candidate, Travis Harris, 53.8 percent (4,062) to 44.5 percent (3356). 

Shipley ran unsuccessfully for this seat in 2014 when the late incumbent Hanson defeated him by 398 votes – 51.7 percent (5,585) to 48.3 percent (5,487). Hanson then ran unopposed in 2016. 

Democrats have a slight voter registration edge in this district with 6,603 registered Democrat votes, 6,412 registered Republican voters, and 5,704 “no party” voters.

Make-up of the Iowa House

Iowa House District 82, should the results hold, is one of two seats that Republicans flipped while losing seven seats on election night. Democrats had a net gain of five seats cutting into the Republican majority, but not eliminating it.

Without the recounts, Republicans hold a 54 to 46 seat majority. Should they lose both of these races, it will decrease their majority to four seats – 52 to 48.

Photo Credit: Jason Mrachina (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

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