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Smart Politics Projections: Iowa State Senate (2008)

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Through November 3rd, Smart Politics will be running a series of electoral projections for Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The fourth projections in the series are State Senate races in the State of Iowa.

Iowa: State Senate.
Balance of power: Democrats (30 to 20)
2006 Results: Democrats, net 5 seats
Seats up for reelection in 2008: 25
Districts to defend: Republicans = 14 of 20 (70 percent); Democrats = 11 of 30 (37 percent)
Open seats: Republicans = 6; Democrats = 1
Incumbents on the ballot: Republicans = 8; Democrats = 10
Districts without major party opposition: Republicans = 5; Democrats = 1

Outlook: The best opportunities for Democratic pick-ups will be in open Districts 18, 20, and 22 and perhaps District 24 (against GOP incumbent Jerry Behn). The open race in District 48 presents another opportunity. Given their limited options, the Republican's best chances to steal seats come in Districts 38, 42, and 46. However, Democrats are running incumbents in all these districts, so, given the current political environment, this will be no easy task.

Projection: Democrats +3. Democrats retain control of Senate.

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Next post: Smart Politics Projections: Iowa State House (2008)

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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

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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