Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Election Profile: Iowa's 3rd Congressional District

Bookmark and Share

Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of Upper Midwestern congressional races leading up to the November 2nd elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The third profile in the series is Iowa's 3rd Congressional District race.

Candidates:
Democrat: Leonard L. Boswell (7-term incumbent)
Republican: Brad Zaun
Socialist Workers: Rebecca Williamson

District Geography:
Iowa's 3rd Congressional District comprises twelve counties in central Iowa: Benton, Grundy, Iowa, Jasper, Keokuk, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Polk, Poweshiek, and Tama.

History:
Along with Collin Peterson (MN-07) and Stephanie Herseth (SD-AL), seven-term Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell is one of three fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats from the Upper Midwest in the U.S. House.

Boswell earned a seat in the House of Representatives in 1996 when he won a close open-seat race against Republican Mike Mahaffey by 1.8 points. This broke the Republican monopoly of the Iowan congressional delegation - all of the state's five congressional seats were held by Republicans in 1994. Boswell was the only Democrat to have won a House race in Iowa from 1996 through 2004: he won convincingly in 1998 (15.8 points) and 2000 (29.1 points), but had a closer call against Republican nominee Stan Thompson in 2002 - winning by just 8.4 points. Boswell won a rematch against Thompson by 10.5 points in 2004 and defeated Jeff Lamberti by 5.3 points in 2006.

In 2008, Representative Boswell won his seventh term by 14.3 points over Kim Schmett - the closest congressional race in the Hawkeye State that year.

Boswell - a Vietnam War veteran and farmer - is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Committee on Armed Services.

This year Boswell's opponent is GOP State Senator Brad Zaun, who won his District 32 Senate seat by 15.4 points in 2004 and ran unopposed in 2008.

Also on the ballot is Socialist Workers Party candidate Rebecca Williamson. The Socialist Workers candidate in the 3rd CD in 2008 won 1.5 percent of the vote and notched 1.6 percent in 2006.

Outlook:
Zaun's advantage over his fellow GOP congressional challengers in Iowa this year is that he is running in the second least partisan district in the state. The 3rd CD was won by Barack Obama by nine points in 2008 while George W. Bush carried it by a tenth of a percent in 2004. Overall, the 3rd CD is rated as the 250th most Republican district in the country, with a Partisan Voting Index of just +1 Democrat.

However, Boswell has been a thorn in the side of the Iowa Republican Party for years - often seeming vulnerable, but always managing to eke out a victory, even during the height of the Republican Party's popularity in the Hawkeye State in the mid- and late 1990s.

Previous post: Election Profile: Iowa's 2nd Congressional District
Next post: Election Profile: Iowa's 4th Congressional District

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting