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Smart Politics Projections: Iowa State House (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 fifth projections in the series are State House races in the State of Iowa.

Iowa: State House.
Balance of power: Democrats (53 to 47)
2006 Results: Democrats +5
Seats up for reelection in 2008: 100
Open seats: Republicans = 9; Democrats = 4
Incumbents on the ballot: Republicans = 38; Democrats = 49
Districts without major party opposition: Republicans = 6; Democrats = 16

Outlook: The Democratic Party is in a much stronger position in House races again in 2008, even if you put aside the "Obama bump some candidates may receive from the top of the ticket. Republicans have to defend more narrow victories from 2006 (11) than do the Democrats (8). Democrats have their best shots at picking up seats in Districts 10, 13, 16, 21, 23, 35, 44, 47, 56, and 60. They also have an outside chance, should Obama win big, in Districts 17, 40, 50, 59, 69, 81, 87, 89, and 99. Republican opportunities to pick up seats are more scarce, but the best chances are in Districts 19, 27, 36, 74, 75, 84, and 92. Democratic Representatives have the opportunity to gain their largest advantage in the House since the 1964 Democratic landslide.

Projection: Democrats +9. Democrats retain control of House.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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