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Election Profile: Iowa's 4th Congressional District

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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 fourth profile in the series is Iowa's 4th Congressional District race.

Candidates:
Republican: Tom Latham (8-term incumbent)
Democrat: Bill Maske
Nominated by Petition: Dan Lensing

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 Republican Revolution that swept into Congress with a large number of first-time GOP victors in 1994. 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 competitor to date, defeating Democratic nominee John Norris by 11.7 points after redistricting. 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.

Latham had no trouble trouncing his Democratic foe in 2008, Becky Greenwald, despite the 4th CD voting for Barack Obama by seven points.

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

In 2010, Latham will face Democratic nominee Bill Maske - an educator and former city councilman and Democratic County Chair for Butler County.

Also appearing on the ballot (nominated by petition) is Dan Lensing. The largest vote total ever received by a candidate nominated by petition for the US House in Iowa history is 4.5 percent (Roy Nielson in IA-05 in 2006).

Outlook:
This region of the Hawkeye State has voted Republican for U.S. House contests in each race for the last two decades. The current 4th CD is actually the most partisan neutral district in Iowa, with an "even" Partisan Voting Index score. The popular Representative easily navigated the Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008 and will coast to shore once again in 2010.

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Previous post: Election Profile: Iowa's 3rd Congressional District
Next post: Election Profile: Iowa's 5th Congressional District

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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