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Election Profile: Iowa's 4th Congressional District (2008)

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Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of all the Upper Midwestern U.S. Senate and U.S. House races leading up to the November 4th elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The sixth profile in the series is Iowa's 4th Congressional District race.

Candidates:
Republican: Tom Latham (7-term incumbent)
Democrat: Becky Greenwald
Write-in: William J. Meyers

District Geography:
Iowa's 4th Congressional District comprises twenty-eight counties in the central and northern part of the state: Alamakee, Boone, Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Dallas, Emmet, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Howard, Humboldt, Kossuth, Madison, Marshall, Mitchell, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Story, Warren, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Worth, and Wright.

History:
Latham was part of the 1994 "Republican revolution that swept into Congress with a large number of first-time GOP victors. Latham beat Democrat nominee Sheila McGuire by 21.8 points in what was then the 5th Congressional District seat left open by 4-term Republican Fred Grandy (former actor on The Love Boat). For the next three elections Latham faced little competition: winning by 31.9 points in 1996, running unopposed in 1998, and winning by 39.6 points in 2000. In 2002, Latham faced his stiffest competition, defeating Democratic nominee John Norris by 11.7 points. In 2004 Latham cruised to a 21.9-point victory over Democratic nominee Paul W. Johnson. In 2006 Lathan faced the second closest race of his Congressional career - winning by 14.4 points over Selden Spencer.

Lathan serves on the House Appropriations Committee - the only member from Iowa's delegation on that powerful committee.

Becky Greenwald, who works in sales and marketing for a DuPont company called Pioneer Hi-Bred, has been an active member of the Iowa Democratic Party in recent years, serving as County Chair and representing the 4th District on the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee.

William J. Meyers will not appear on the ballot, but has launched a write-in campaign.

Outlook:
This region of the Hawkeye State has voted Republican for U.S. House contests in each race for the last two decades. If either of the GOP's two Congressional Districts in the state were to flip in 2008 (the 5th District being the other), it would be the 4th, but it would take an extraordinary landslide Democratic election to make that so, in light of Latham's six consecutive double-digit victories.

Previous post: Election Profile: Iowa's 3rd Congressional District (2008)
Next post: Dean Barkley Hits 19 Percent in New Minnesota Senate Poll

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Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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