Sunday, October 31, 2010

Iowa Congressional Races

Campaign 2010: It's been a bit of whiplash following the Iowa Congressional races. Even the most die-hard Democrat doesn't have a lot of hope of upsetting Republican Steve King in the 5th District or Tom Latham in the 4th District. But handicapping the other three races, all held by Democrats, is tougher to do. Over the summer, it seemed the "insiders" were saying the 3rd District looked most likely to flip (and some publications still call it a "toss up". Of course, I've lived in Iowa nearly 10 years now. And every election, Republicans say they are going to take this seat away from Des Moines Democrat Leonard Boswell. It never happens. This year was supposed to be different:

It's a Republican year.
Health care reform, cap and trade and the federal stimulus were less than popular with voters.
Boswell's Republican challenger, Brad Zaun, is a former mayor, hardware shop owner and current state senator, making him well-known in the metro.
But then, The Des Moines Register got a hold of a police report from a decade ago when Zaun's former girlfriend had called police to say he was harassing her and pounding on her house one night. Later Zaun flipped his position on ethanol subsidies. First, he was against them. Then, he seemed to support them. National Republicans held onto their money and put it other races. Boswell and national Democrats kept pounding away. I don't recall Boswell ever running this many negative ads before this race. Zaun has started airing a commercial the last few days with his wife. No question the Boswell ads/police report have hurt his standing with women. Will the new ad do any good or has the damage been done?

Fast forward a bit...and insiders were saying, no, it's the 1st District that could change hands. It wasn't that long ago that Democrat Bruce Braley seemed like he would have no real problems getting re-elected. Braley's mentioned on the shortest of short lists when people start to speculate about Democrats who could replace Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, if Harkin decides not to run again. But then...the American Future Fund dropped in a mess of money ($800,000 if my memory is accurate) going after Braley. All of a sudden, little-known Independence Republican attorney Ben Lange starting closing the gap and the national folks started paying a lot more attention to this race. Vice-President Joe Biden just flew into town to help Braley, probably not a destination figured would be on the travel itinerary a short time ago., the latest talk is that...wait a's the 2nd District that could actually have the best chance of changing colors. Former college professor Dave Loebsack may not have the easy road to victory fellow Democrats once thought. This is the district that kept Republican Congressman Jim Leach in office for 30 years. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who ran against him 2 years ago, is running again. She quit her job and loaned her campaign nearly half-a-million bucks (can I get some of that?). Now, Republicans have eyes on her chances there.

I'm getting dizzy.


Anonymous said...

Zaun's politics are shady. He is a hard person to get along with or even have a decent conversation. I really could see him harassing a past girlfriend. He is a bit of an ass.

Anonymous said...

Zaun will be a great representative!

Boswell has been completely out of touch.