Iowa House Chamber
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Update: Voter registration and absentee ballot statistics have been updated since new information is in.

Republicans in the Iowa House currently hold a 53 to 47 majority. In 2018, Democrats picked up six seats, and they hope to pick up at least four seats to win the majority this cycle.

There are a few things I want to acknowledge before I provide a look at different races.

Based on absentee voting, it is likely that Democrats will have a huge turnout. Statewide, 67.8 of their current registered voters (699,001) have requested a ballot, and 62.6 percent of their registered voters have sent in their absentee ballot (absentee ballots have to be postmarked by November 2, 2020). So before election day, they already have a 62.6 percent voter turnout. To put this into perspective, they (684,578) had a 74 percent turnout in 2016, with 38.8 percent of their voters voting by absentee ballot. In 2018, they (677,668) had a 67.7 percent turnout, with 33.8 percent of their voters voting by absentee ballot.

Republicans have also seen a statewide increase in absentee ballot requests, but not even remotely close to Democratic levels. Statewide, 47.3 percent of Republican registered voters (719,590) have requested an absentee ballot, and 43.9 percent have sent them in. For perspective, in 2016, Republicans (711,511) had an 80.1 percent turnout, with 31.5 percent of registered Republicans voting by absentee ballot. In 2018, 71.6 percent of Republicans (688,246) turned out to the polls, and 27.4 percent of their voters cast an absentee ballot.

Republicans could very well set turnout records, but we don’t know that they will. We do know that Republican turnout on Election Day will be overwhelming in comparison to Democrat turnout. I suspect in some precincts; poll workers will only see Republican and independent voters.

This brings us to independents. We don’t know what turnout will look like for them. Only 32.8 percent of independent voters (659,485) have requested an absentee ballot, with 29.8 having sent their ballot in. In 2016, only 60.1 percent of independent voters (800,941) turned out to vote, with 19.6 percent voting by absentee ballot. In 2018, only 45.9 percent of independent voters (803,429) turned out, with only 14.4 percent voting by absentee. What will the independent turnout look like, and how will they be inclined to vote?

Also, out-of-state money has been pouring in primarily for Democratic candidates; how much will that impact each race? In almost every competitive race, Democrat candidates have out-raised their Republican counterparts, and they have also received more assistance from their state party and other outside groups.

Some notes: The voter registration is from November 2, 2020. New numbers will be released on November 2, 2020, and I will update if there are significant changes that could change the outlook.

(GOP = Republicans, Dem = Democrats, NP = No Party)

Also, fundraising numbers are from July 19 – October 30, 2020, unless indicated otherwise.

Democrat Opportunities

These are not listed in ranked order. They have more opportunities than Republicans do this year.

Iowa House District 16

This is an open race due to State Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs, announcing she will not run for re-election. Republicans fielded a former legislator. Brent Siegrist from Council Bluffs served in the Iowa House from 1984 to 2002, and he served as House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House before retiring from politics. He also taught for 18 years and served as executive director for the Iowa Area Education Agency from 2003 until his retirement in 2018. He faces Jen Pelland, a Democrat human resources professional. An independent candidate is running as well, Robert Fairchild from Council Bluffs.

Hanusa won by almost 15 points in 2016, and President Donald Trump won the district by ten points. She just squeaked by in 2018 by 114 votes or 1.1 percent, and she underperformed Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who won by 1.4 percent.

The make-up of the district hasn’t changed much.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 6,502, Dem – 5,845, NP – 5,838
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6,101, Dem – 5,623, NP – 5,514
  • Post-2018: GOP – 5,817, Dem – 5,143, NP – 6,353
  • Post-2016: GOP – 5,929, Dem – 5,236, NP – 6,249

Fundraising:

  • Pellant: $323,130.20 (In-Kind: $509,303.50)
  • Siegrist: $48,228.30 (In-Kind: $497,949.78)

Absentee:

  • Democrats Requested: 3739 (64 percent) Received: 3511
  • Republican Requested: 3217 (49.5 percent) Received: 2980

Rating: Lean Republican

I think this is a close race, but don’t see Democrats flipping this seat.

Iowa House District 37

State Rep. John Landon, R-Ankeny, is running for a fifth term and he faces Andrea Phillips, his Democrat challenger from Ankeny whom he beat in 2016 by almost 15 points. Trump won the district by 8.4 points. Landon’s race in 2018 was much closer, winning by 4.1 points, but he ran ahead of Reynolds who won by 3.1 points.

The district has changed, but Republicans still have a sizable voter registration advantage.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 11,691, Dems – 9,965, NP – 9,857
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 10,723, Dems – 9,339, NP – 8,933
  • Post-2018: GOP – 10,606, Dems – 7,777, NP – 9,521
  • Post-2016: GOP – 10,866, Dems – 7,001, NP – 8,583

Democrats have poured over $1 million into this race.

Fundraising:

  • Landon: $67,280 (In-kind: $574,865.44)
  • Phillips: $353,441.54 (In-kind: $834,521.86)

Absentee:

  • Democrats Requested: 7104 (70.3 percent) Received: 6614
  • Republicans Requested: 4693 (40.1 percent) Received: 4182

Rating: Lean Republican

I am wary of putting this race into lean Republican territory. There are a ton of resources being spent on this race. Republicans’ voter registration edge has been halved, but not by losing voters but through population growth in the district. Democrats’ absentee ballot advantage is also troubling, but not insurmountable. Also, Landon has a history of outperforming the top of the ticket. I think he will survive this challenge.

Iowa House District 55

This race features a rematch between State Rep. Michael Bergan, R-Dorchester, and his Democratic challenger Kayla Koether from Decorah. Bergan barely survived a challenge from Koether, beating her by nine votes. A recount did not change the results, and the results were contested because 29 absentee ballots that did not have a postmark showing where they came from were not counted. A five-member election contest committee appointed by then-Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, sided with Bergan.

Bergan won in 2016 by slightly more than 14 points. The district saw another close race in 2014 when Republican Darrel Branhagen defeated Democrat Rick Edwards by 27 votes flipping the open seat for Republicans. Trump won this district by 7.1 points in 2016, and Reynolds won it in 2018 by 4.7 points.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 7,082, Dem – 6,524, NP – 6,235
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6666, Dem – 6398, NP – 5877
  • Post-2018: GOP – 7,264, Dem – 4,798, NP – 7,194
  • Post-2016: GOP – 6,840, Dem – 5,921, NP – 7,317

Fundraising:

  • Bergan – $51,425 (In-Kind: $578,722)
  • Koether – $328,767.89 (In-kind: $697,803.07)

Absentee:

  • Democrat Requested: 4777 (73.2 percent) Received: 4574
  • Republicans Requested: 3970 (56.1 percent) Received: 3821

Rating: Toss-up

Democrats have picked up registered voters since 2016 and 2018.

Iowa House District 67

This race is for an open seat since State Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, is running for Congress in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. The race is between Republican Sally Ann Abbott, a nurse and educator from Cedar Rapids, and Democrat Eric Gjerde from Cedar Rapids. He lost to Hinson in 2018.

President Donald Trump lost this district in 2016 by 1.5 percent, and Reynolds lost by 2.9 percent in 2018. Former Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, ran unopposed in 2014, but did not run for re-election in 2016. Hinson, a local TV news anchor defeated Mark Seidel by 25 points in 2016 keeping the seat in Republican hands. She defeated Gjerde by four points in 2018.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 7,845, Dem – 8,272, NP – 7,685
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 7,482, Dem – 8,078, NP – 7,061
  • Post-2018: GOP – 7,272, Dem – 6,669, NP – 8,437
  • Post-2016: GOP – 5,741, Dem – 7,109, NP – 8,542

Fundraising:

  • Abbott: $6,890 (In-Kind: $17,503.10)
  • Gjerde: $227,551.84 (In-Kind: $362,135.32)

Absentee:

  • Democrat Requested: 6482 (78.3 percent) Received 6074
  • Republican Requested: 4134 (52.6 percent) Received 3862

Rating: Likely Democrat

Republicans are not investing in this race, voter registration is not in their favor. Also, Hinson had a high name ID in the area, Abbott does not.

Iowa House District 73

State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, faces Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, D-Iowa City, in what could be a very competitive race.

Pulkrabek who has served as sheriff since 2005, announced in May of 2019, that he would not run for re-election for Sheriff. Kaufmann, who is the son of Cedar County Supervisor and Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann, has not experienced a close race yet.

He won in 2012 by 11.8 points. In 2014, he won by 35.4 points. In 2016, he ran unopposed, and Trump won the district by 7.9 points. In the blue wave of 2018, Kaufmann won by 11.5 points, while Reynolds squeaked by winning by 1.3 points.

Democrats have a slight voter registration edge, they are outspending Republicans, and have a large percentage of their voters request absentee ballots.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 7,286, Dem – 7,295, NP – 6,909
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6,863, Dem – 7,213, NP – 6,588
  • Post-2018: GOP – 6,274, Dem – 6,563, NP – 8,071
  • Post-2016: GOP – 6,456, Dem – 6,472, NP – 7,930

Fundraising:

  • Kaufmann: $148,609 (In-Kind: $244,704)
  • Pulkrabek: $144,162.83 (In-Kind: $608,015.05) 

Absentee:

  • Democrats Requested 5953 (81.6 percent) Received 4920
  • Republicans Requested 3631 (49.8 percent) Received 3184

Rating: Lean Republican

If Iowa House District 73 included more of Johnson County, I would rate this lean Democrat, but it doesn’t. Two-thirds of the district is Cedar County. Republicans have increased their registered voters. Also, Kaufmann has shown he can win in tough election cycles for Republicans. The fact that while 81.3 percent of Democrats have requested a ballot, over 1000 have not sent them in yet is eye-opening. That will change, they have until tomorrow to get it postmarked, but I haven’t seen that margin in any other district. It makes me wonder about their enthusiasm.

Iowa House District 82

State Rep. Jeff Shipley, R-Birmingham, has said some controversial things that have drawn the ire of Democrats and some within his own party. The late Democrat State Rep. Curt Hanson represented the district from 2009 to 2017 when he passed away from cancer. After redistricting, he won by 18 points in 2012 but narrowly defeated the current incumbent Jeff Shipley by 2.4 points. He ran unopposed in 2016 when Trump won the district by 21.3 points.

Phil Miller of Fairfield won the seat in a special election in 2017, but Shipley narrowly defeated him by 37 votes in 2018. Reynolds won the district by 11.1 points in that same election.

Miller is challenging Shipley to regain the seat for Democrats.

Republicans hold a voter registration advantage.

  • Current: GOP – 7,638, Dems – 6,666, NP – 5,110
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 7,110, Dems – 6,599, NP – 4,938
  • Post-2018: GOP – 6,432, Dems – 6,593, NP – 5,771
  • Post-2016: GOP – 6,775, Dems – 6,527, NP – 5,913

Democrats are investing a lot of money into this race, but not as much as they have in other races.

Fundraising:

  • Shipley: $16,110 (In-kind: $108,472.29)
  • Miller: $151,901.19 (In-kind: $253,277.43)

Democrats have an absentee ballot advantage, but Republicans have requested more absentee ballots as they have in the past.

  • Democrat Requested 4631 (69.5 percent) Received 4441
  • Republican Requested 3295 (43.1 percent) Received 3149

Rating: Lean Republican

Unless a lot of Republicans walk away from Shipley, I don’t see him losing in a district where Reynolds won by 11 points in a Democrat wave. Republican voter registration numbers recovered after 2018 and are higher than they were in 2016 while Democrat numbers have stayed fairly flat.

Iowa House District 91

This seat is open after State Rep. Gary Carlson, R-Muscatine, announced that he was not running for re-election. Mark Cisneros of Muscatine, the Republican nominee, is a former law enforcement officer, business owner, and a pretty dynamic candidate. Should he win, he will be the first Latino to serve in the Iowa Legislature. He faces Kelcey Brackett, a Democrat who is a member of the Muscatine City Council.

Carlson won in 2014 by 13.4 points. He also won by 7.8 points in 2016, and Trump won the district by 5.1 points. He won again in 2018 by 7.5 points, and Reynolds won by 3.3 points.

Voter registration numbers have remained close.

  • Current: GOP – 6,503, Dem – 6,354, NP – 6,818
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6,239, Dem – 6,223, NP – 6,414
  • Post 2018: GOP: 5,846, Dem – 5,782, NP – 7,504
  • Post-2016: GOP: 6,090, Dem – 5,985, NP – 7,351

Republicans have spent more than Democrats on this race.

  • Cisneros: $40,050 ($534,549.86)
  • Brackett: $157,943.57 ($299,270.07)

Democrats don’t hold much of a absentee ballot advantage.

Absentee

  • Democrat Received 3836 (60.4 percent) Received 3634
  • Republican Received 3360 (51.6 percent) Received 3269

Rating: Lean Republican

Republicans are investing more into this race, and I think they have a quality candidate in Cisneros.

Iowa House District 92

State Rep. Ross Paustian, R-Walcott, faces a Democrat challenger, Jennifer Kakert, from Blue Grass, in a race that I believe could be competitive.

This race has been a swing district in the recent past. Paustian lost in 2012 to Frank Wood and then defeated him in 2014 by 8.4 points. He then won by 12.2 points in 2016 and by 5.1 points in 2018.

Trump won the district by 9.3 points in 2016, and Reynolds won in 2018 by 6.9 points.

Democrats have a slight voter registration advantage as well.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 6,661, Dem – 6,605, NP – 8,377
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6,225, Dems – 6,336, NP – 8,151
  • Post-2018: GOP – 5,980, Dems – 5,818, NP – 8,960
  • Post-2016: GOP – 6,220, Dems – 6,011, NP – 8,532

Both sides have poured a lot of money into the race.

  • Paustian: $65,180 (In-Kind: $339,825.67)
  • Kakert: $114,832.59 (In-Kind: $399,432.09) 

Democrats don’t have quite the early voting advantage as they do in other districts.

  • Democrats Requested 4551 (68.9 percent) Received 4248
  • Republican Requested 3548 (53.3 percent) Received 3349

Rating: Lean Republican

If there is a low turnout among independent voters who backed Paustian in the past, he could be in trouble as he has lost in a presidential election year before. He still won by a comfortable margin in 2018, and I think it’s likely voters will send him back to Des Moines.

Iowa House District 94

State Rep. Gary Mohr, R-Bettendorf, faces a challenge from Marie Gleason, a Democrat John Deere retiree from Pleasant Valley, in a district that has seen large Democrat gains and a lot of money spent.

Mohr ran unopposed in 2016, and Trump won the district by ten points. In 2018, he won by 9.8 points, over-performing Reynolds, who won the district by 2.4 points.

Democrats have gained almost 1800 more registered voters than they had in 2016.

Voter Registration:

  • Current: GOP – 9,407, Dems – 8,226, NP – 9,435
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 8,862, Dems – 7,667, NP – 9,983
  • Post-2018: GOP – 8,807, Dem – 6,414, NP – 10,113
  • Post-2016: GOP – 9,147, Dem – 6,254, NP – 9,281

As you can see, over $1.5 million has been spent outside the campaigns.

  • Mohr: $141,035 (In-Kind: $731,400.83)
  • Gleason: $155,688.06 (In-Kind: $803,421.27)

Also, 82 percent of Democrats requested early ballots. That said, Republicans have also had good turnout for absentee ballot requests.

Absentee:

  • Democrat Requested 6740 (82.9 percent) Received 6294
  • Republicans Requested 6395 (67.9 percent) Received 6,008

Rating: Toss-up.

Republicans have a voter registration advantage, but this district is more competitive than in past cycles.

Iowa House District 95

This is an open seat since State Rep. Louie Zumbach, R-Coggon, decided not to run for re-election. Charlie McClintock, who served as a police officer in Cedar Rapids and serves as the mayor of Alburnett, is the Republican nominee. Christian Andrews, a public works employee from Mount Vernon, is running again. Zumbach defeated him in 2018 by 7.9 percent.

Trump won this district in 2016 by 9.7 points and Reynolds won in 2018 by 4.5 points.

Voter registration is pretty even.

  • Current: GOP – 7,326, Dem – 7,232, NP – 7,871
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 7,094, Dem – 7,135, NP – 7,491
  • Post-2018: GOP – 6,491, Dem – 6.419, NP – 8,559
  • Post-2016: GOP – 6,377, Dem – 6,211, NP – 7,918

Democrats have spent more money here than Republicans, and Republicans have spent a lot.

Fundraising:

  • McClintock: $9,565.00 (In-Kind: $415,211.47)
  • Andrews: $327,363.65 (In-Kind: $580,621.89)

Absentee

  • Democrat Requested 4640 (64.1 percent) Received 4368
  • Republican Requested 2,811 (38.3 percent) Received 2649 

Rating: Toss-up

Republican spending tells me that they are worried about this seat, and I have not heard conservative activists get excited about this seat.

Republican Opportunities

It seems that Republicans are primarily focused on defense and not as much on offense based on the way they are allocating money.

Iowa House District 26

Republicans are spending a lot of money to unseat State Rep. Scott Ourth, D-Ackworth, and Democrats are spending a lot of money to defend him.

Ourth’s Republican challenger is Brooke Boden of Indianola. She is a licensed insurance agent, and she operates a dance studio in Indianola. Ourth had not had a serious challenge and has won even when the top of the Republican ticket won the district. Joni Ernst won by 12 points in her 2014 U.S. Senate race, and Ourth won by eight. Trump won by 13 points in 2016, and Ourth won by eight. Reynolds won by four points in 2018, and Ourth won by 11.

Ourth has three OWI convictions, the first two were well before he ran for office. The latest, however, was in 2019 and that could make an impact.

Republicans have a slight registered voter advantage.

  • Current: GOP – 8,120, Dem – 7,121, NP – 6,718
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 7,456, Dem – 6,968, NP – 6,564
  • Post-2018: GOP – 7,180, Dem – 6,627, NP – 7,643
  • Post-2016: GOP – 7,466, Dem – 6,611, NP – 7,512

Democrats have spent more:

  • Ourth: $67,763.70 (In-kind: $649,535.09)
  • Boden: $10,985.13 (In-kind: $441,044.66)

Absentee:

  • Democrat Requested: 5039 (70.7 percent) Received: 4,781
  • Republican Requested: 3813 (46.9 percent) Received: 3,612

Rating: Toss-up.

With a respected opponent, a recent OWI, and Republicans targeting this race could be Ourth’s toughest race yet.

Iowa House District 29

State Rep. Wes Breckenridge, D-Newton, is a retired police officer who held his seat comfortably even when the top of the Republican ticket won in his district. Trump won by 12.4 points in 2016, Breckenridge won by 13.4 points. Reynolds won by 6.1 points in 2018, and Breckenridge won by 17.5 points.

His Republican challenger has an interesting background. Jon Dunwell of Newton is a businessman and a leadership coach. He pastored Westwood Church in Orlando, Fla. for 21 years. During that time, he served as the senior chaplain for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. His wife is from Newton, and they moved back in 2011.

Democrats hold a voter registration edge that has dropped slightly since 2016 while Republicans have seen modest growth.

  • Current: GOP – 6,745, Dems – 7,499, NP – 7,106
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6,257, Dems – 7,480, NP – 7,046 
  • Post-2018: GOP – 5,865, Dems – 7,259, NP – 7,677
  • Post-2016: GOP – 5,801, Dems – 7,677, NP – 7,304

Neither Republicans or Democrats have invested much into this race.

  • Breckenridge: $39,060 (In-Kind: $44,231.98)
  • Dunwell: $17,628.70 (In-Kind: $23,070.45)

Democrats’ absentee ballot numbers are good, but lower than seen elsewhere.

  • Democrat Requested: 4724 (62.9 percent) Received: 4523
  • Republicans Requested: 2935 (43.5 percent) Received: 2810

Rating: Likely Democrat

With significant Republican turnout and Trump independents voting for Republicans down-ballot, this could be a very close race and possibly tip toward the GOP. Dunwell, on paper, looks like he could be a solid candidate, but Breckenridge has weathered a strong Republican cycle.

Iowa House District 38

In 2018, State Rep. Heather Matson, D-Ankeny, defeated Republican incumbent Kevin Koester by 3.1 percent. In 2016, Koester easily defeated Matson by nine points. In 2014, he won by 19 points.

Trump won in seven points in 2016, but Reynolds lost by 3.4 points.

Matson faces a young Republican challenger. Garrett Gobble is a history teacher at Northview Middle School in Ankeny, but he runs in a very different district than Koester did in 2016.

The district has changed as you can see in the voter registration numbers:

  • Current: GOP – 8,437, Dems – 8,526, NP – 7,415
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 7,873, Dems – 8,822, NP – 6,893
  • Post 2018: GOP – 7,500, Dems – 7,229, NP – 7,522
  • Post 2016: GOP – 7,555, Dems – 6,919, NP – 6,931

Republicans are not investing any money into TV ads for this race, and Democrats are not spending much money either.

  • Matson: $63,094.40 (In-Kind: $83,911.47)
  • Gobble: $13,101.64 (In-Kind: $30,764.88)

Democrats have considerably more absentee ballot requests:

  • Democrats Requested: 5787 (67.9 percent) Received: 5358
  • Republicans Requested: 3285 (38.9 percent) Received: 2933

Rating: Lean Democrat

This district is winnable for Republicans, but they have to invest resources into it.

Iowa House District 39

State Rep. Karin Derry, D-Johnston, faces a challenge from Republican Eddie Andrews, an app developer and Christian minister from Johnston. Should Andrews win, he will, I believe, be the first black member of the Iowa House Republican caucus.

Derry, in 2018, defeated Republican incumbent Jake Highfill by 305 votes. Democrats have gained in voter registration by 2016, and Republicans currently have the same numbers they did in 2016, but they hold a slight advantage.

  • Current: GOP – 10,415, Dem – 9,818, NP – 8,865
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 9,746, Dem – 9,208, NP – 8,170
  • Post-2018: GOP – 9,749, Dem – 7,507, NP – 8,934
  • Post-2016: GOP – 10,149, Dem – 6,876, NP – 8,258

Democrats are concerned enough about this race to spend some significant money on this race, but Republicans are investing little money in the district.

  • Derry: $95,097.79 (In-Kind: $276,059.77)
  • Andrews: $27,045.79 (In-Kind: $27,401.48) 

Absentee:

  • Democrats Requested: 6981 (71.1 percent) Received: 6534
  • Republicans Requested: 4,299 (41.2 percent) Received: 3826

Rating: Lean Democrat

I want to consider this race a toss-up, but I just can’t. Andrews is a good candidate, but he needs resources. If Republicans have record turnout and independents break toward Republicans, he could prevail even without the help. This is a district Republicans can win.

Iowa House District 44

State Rep. Keenan Judge, D-Waukee, defeated Waukee City councilwoman Anna Bergman by 4.6 points in 2018. This is a district that is becoming difficult for Republicans. Trump won the district in 2016 by 2.8 points, but Reynolds lost it by 2.2 points.

He is being challenged by Republican nominee Dave Lorenzen of Waukee, a law enforcement officer, and Dave Stock, an independent candidate from Clive.

Republicans still have a voter registration edge, but Democrats have seen their numbers increase by over 4,000 new voters since 2016.

  • Current: GOP – 11,631, Dem – 11,130, NP – 11,053
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 10,460, Dem – 9,908, NP – 10,116
  • Post 2018: GOP – 10,302, Dem – 7,877, NP – 11,787
  • Post 2016: GOP – 10,354, Dem – 6,684, NP – 10,510

Democrats have invested money into this race and Republicans have invested none.

  • Judge: $66,330.08 (In-Kind: $253,188.55)
  • Lorenzen: $11,55.10 (In-kind: $17,828.00) – The campaign did not file a report on 10/30 as his donations were less than $1,000 so he was not legally required to file.

A large number of Democrats have already submitted absentee ballots, but a large percentage of Republicans have as well.

  • Democrats Requested: 8703 (78.2 percent) Received: 8172
  • Republican Requested: 6398 (55.0 percent) Received: 5997

Rating: Lean Democrat

Update: I’m changing my rating to lean Democrat. Lorenzen’s summary report on 10/19 was wrong and it appears he raised some money after all and the Republican Party of Iowa did spend some money in this race, but not that much. I still think this leans toward Judge’s re-election, but this race looks far better than it did when I first published.

Iowa House District 58

State Rep. Andy McKean, D-Anamosa, switched parties in 2019. As a Republican, he won by 38 points in 2018 and by 18 points in 2016. Before him, the Republican incumbent, Brian Moore, won by 2.5 points in 2012 and 21.6 points in 2014.

Steven Bradley, a dentist from Cascade, is the Republican nominee.

One would think this is Republican country, but it’s actually not, at least not judging by voter registration numbers.

  • Current: GOP – 6,801, Dem – 7,148, NP – 7,831
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 6,465, Dem – 7,208, NP – 7,566
  • Post-2018: GOP – 5,307, Dem – 6,695, NP – 9,352
  • Post-2016: GOP – 5,396, Dem – 7,022, NP – 9,039

Independents break toward Republicans, and the district saw Trump win by 20.8 points in 2016, and Reynolds won by 15 percent in 2018.

There is a lot of spending on both sides.

  • McKean: $90,266.84 (In-kInd: $622,399.98)  
  • Bradley: $33,245.00 (In-Kind: $528,719.92)

Democrats have an absentee ballot lead, but not by as much as they do in other districts.

  • Democrats Requested: 4434 (62.0 percent) Received: 4241
  • Republican Requested: 3003 (44.2 percent) Received: 2887

Rating: Lean Democrat

I’m not convinced that Republicans can unseat McKean for a couple of reasons: 1. Democrats outnumber Republicans, albeit it is not a large advantage and 2. independents who voted for McKean before probably don’t care about his party switch as much as Republicans do.

Iowa House District 60

State Rep. Dave Williams, D-Cedar Falls, narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Walt Rogers by 234 votes in 2018. Rogers enjoyed a Republican-leaning district in 2014 when he won by 18 points and in 2016 when he won by 16 points. Trump, however, only won the district in 2016 by 3.6 points. In 2018, Reynolds essentially tied Fred Hubbell in the district.

Williams’ Republican challenger Ryan Howard works at John Deere and owns a small business with his wife.

Howard is running in a different district looking at voter registration numbers.

  • Current: GOP – 7,696, Dem – 7,956, NP – 6,878
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 7,285, Dem – 7,628, NP – 6,784
  • Post-2018: GOP – 7,214, Dem – 6,835, NP – 7,914
  • Post-2016: GOP – 7,600, 6,644, NP – 7,771

Neither party invested much money into this district in anticipation of it being a competitive race.

  • Williams: $64,426.02 (In-Kind: $58,134.09)
  • Howard: $7,538.00 (In-Kind: $10,406.66)

Both parties have surpassed their 2016 requests for absentee ballots, with Democrats enjoying an advantage.

  • Democrat Requested: 5880 (73.9 percent) Received: 5602
  • Republican Requested: 4283 (55.7 percent) Received: 4,049

Rating: Likely Democrat

This could be a close race, but Williams has a voter registration edge with independents who, based on 2018, appears to favor Democrats.

Iowa House District 64

State Rep. Bruce Bearinger, D-Oelwein, announced he would not run for re-election so this district is now a hotly contested race.

It appeared to be fairly safe before. Trump won by 13.1 points in 2016, but Bearinger won by 16.7 points. Reynolds won the district by 5.5 points in 2018, and Bearinger ran unopposed.

Republicans recruited a quality candidate for this open race. Chad Ingels from Randalia is a farmer, school board president, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture candidate, and past president of Fayette County Farm Bureau.

His Democratic opponent, Jodi Grover, oversees the teacher education programs at Upper Iowa University.

Voter registration slightly favors Democrats, but Republicans have shrunk the margin.

  • Current: GOP – 5477, Dems – 5,647, NP – 7,644
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 5,181, Dems – 5,647, NP – 7,273
  • Post-2018: GOP – 4,693, Dems – 5,206, NP – 8,459
  • Post-2016: GOP – 4,889, Dems – 5,475, NP – 8,528

Both parties have spent a lot of money on this race and Democrats have sunk over a half-million into defending it.

  • Ingels: $22,925 (In-Kind: $385,876.95)
  • Grover: $109,457.17 (In-Kind: $508,070.87)

Democrats have an absentee ballot advantage but don’t have as high of a percentage of their registered voters requested a ballot as seen in other districts.

  • Democrat Requested: 3632 (64.3 percent) Received 3423
  • Republican Requested: 2443 (44.6 percent) Received 2313

Rating: Lean Republican

Republicans appear to have momentum in that district and have a candidate that can capitalize.

Iowa House District 81

State Rep. Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa, defeated her Republican challenger Cherielynn Westrich from Ottumwa by almost nine points in 2018. They face each other again.

While voter registration numbers don’t obviously reflect it, the district appears to be trending red. Trump won the district by 16.4 points in 2016, Gaskill ran unopposed, and Reynolds won by 1.9 points in 2018.

Looking at voter registrations, Republicans have seen a slight increase since 2016, and Democrats have seen a slight decline.

  • Current: GOP – 5,101, Dems – 6,697, NP – 5,428
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 4,783, Dems – 6,671, NP – 5,122
  • Post-2018: GOP – 4,410, Dems – 6,963, NP – 5,602
  • Post-2016: GOP -4,599, Dems – 7,452, NP – 5,844

Both candidates have received some help from their party:

  • Gaskill: $37,008.76 (In-Kind: $229,997.89)
  • Westrich: $16,211 (In-Kind: $114,530.81)

Democrats do hold an absentee voting edge:

  • Democrat Requested 3835 (57.2 percent) Received 3644
  • Republican Requested 2151 (42.2 percent) Received 2054

Rating: Lean Democrat

Republicans can flip this seat, but it will require extraordinary turnout and for right-leaning independents to turnout for Westrich like they did Trump in 2016.

Iowa House District 83

State Rep. Jerry Kearns had easily held this seat, winning in 2012 by over 27 points. He ran unopposed in 2014 and 2016. In 2018, the current State Rep. Jeff Kurtz, D-Ft. Madison, had a closer race but won easily by 8.2 points.

Trump won this district by 13 points in 2016, but Reynolds lost it by seven.

Kurtz’s Republican challenger, retired Brig. Gen. Martin Graber of Ft. Madison. Graber retired from the Iowa Army National Guard and works as a financial advisor in Ft. Madison.

The district is heavily Democratic based on voter registration, but Democrats have seen their numbers drop since 2016 while Republicans have increased:

  • Current: GOP – 4,644, Dems – 7,343, NP – 6,034
  • Post-Primary: GOP – 4,158, Dems – 7,337, NP – 5,849
  • Post-2018: GOP – 3,606, Dems – 7,592, NP – 6,728
  • Post-2016: GOP – 3,546, Dems – 8,061, NP – 6,581

Neither party is investing in this race:

  • Kurtz: $24,067.57 (In-Kind: $32,314.64)
  • Graber: $4,405 (In-Kind: $6,068.61)

Democrats’ absentee ballot push wasn’t as impressive in this district either:

  • Democrats Requested 4416 (60.1 percent) Received 4205
  • Republican Requested 2231 (48.0 percent) Received 2120

Rating: Likely Democrat

Graber is a quality candidate to run against a fairly new state representative in a district that could go for Trump once again. It could be a close race, but without resources, the voter registration advantage Democrats have will be hard to overcome.

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