Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Night, the Next Night

What was that?: One night after election night, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what took place and what it means. Republicans had a good night, for the most part. But most people assumed that would happen, right? They didn't have a good night everywhere, though. They took the governor's mansion, made huge gains in the house, gained in the senate and held their U.S. Senate and 2 Congressional seats. But for all their talk at different times about taking the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Congressional seats, they failed at all 3. How did that happen when their party made landslide pickups in the U.S. House and Senate?

Here's what surprised me on election night...

I thought Governor Chet Culver would make a closer contest of it. Iowans hadn't voted out an incumbent governor since 1962. But Republican Terry Branstad beat Culver by double digits...10 points. It wasn't close at all.

What happened to all the Republican talk that Brenna Findley would knock off LONG-time Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller? Findley raised more than twice as much cash. And yet the race wasn't close (56-44%).

Republicans first seemed to be most excited about their chances of taking the 3rd District. That changed to the 1st. Then, no, it was the 2nd. In the end, they lost the 2nd by the biggest deficit of the 3 (Dem. Dave Loebsack won 51-46% in the 2nd. Leonard Boswell won 51-47% in the 3rd. Bruce Braley had the closest night of the bunch. He won 50-48% in the 1st).

Democrats had really talked up Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin after former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan handpicked her to take on juggernaut U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. They said this was the year. Well, Conlin just barely avoided being doubled up by Grassley on election night (64-33%).

And there's always that talk about how Republican Steve King could never lose in the uber-Republican western/northwestern Iowa 5th District. But his margin of victory wasn't as much as Tom Latham's win in the 4th. Latham won 65.7%-31.94%. King won 65.79%-32.31%. King won big, just not as big as Latham.

And then there's Michael Mauro, the Democratic Secretary of State. Mauro was a favorite of many in the media for his willingness to answer tough questions, no matter what it meant for his party. I talked to people, Republicans and Democrats alike, who were stunned to learn Republican challenger, Matt Schultz, won. Schultz had drawn ridicule from some when he said he was making the race about jobs. That struck people as odd since the secretary of state oversees elections, not normally job creation. Schultz also admitted skipping a bunch of elections. Despite his critics, Schultz won. So he can make the office about whatever he wants now and since he is just 31, he will undoubtedly start appearing on lists of the young, up-and-comers for his party.

And what about the Iowa Statehouse? Republicans gained 16 seats as I write this, about 10-12 more than some predictions. And the Repubs have gained 6 seats so far in the senate. That's also 2-4 more than some expectations. Quite a shift at the statehouse overall. It will be a whole new dynamic. Crazy.

Finally, the Iowa Supreme Court Justices. Talk about a race the media were late covering. Iowans booted out 3 justices following the same-sex marriage ruling last year. Who saw this coming a few months back? Almost no one. It has never happened in Iowa before. My co-worker, Sonya Heitshusen, researched it today. She could find just one case anywhere in the country, ever, where more than one justice got kicked out in an election. That was in California in the 1980s. Quite a bit of history Iowa just made. Where will the fight go from here?

I've hit the wall as I write this, which is dangerous. So please forgive me for any spelling errors or rambling sentences. It's been a long night/short morning. But quite a lot of story lines for us to follow in the months ahead.


King of SNARK said...

The role of Iowa Secretary of State includes more than just elections.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, maybe I'm missing something, but I see nothing in there about job creation.

The SOS office has no ability do be in the business of economic development, nor do they have the budget to accomplish what Schultz has been touting.

It's an utter shame this man won.

Anonymous said...

Schultz didn't make this race about jobs, it was secondary to elections. He made this race about a photo ID. Dave Price just hates the fact that Schultz won and refuses to tell the whole story.

And actually, the SOS office does have a business aspect that you libs fail to recognize. Maybe you should go back and see what Paul Pate did. That is how you use it as a business friendly office. Schultz will do the same.

King of SNARK said...

Fiberals just don't understand that governments role in private sector job creation should be about providing the right climate for success.

This comes from the URL of the SOS website under Mauro -- "The Office of the Secretary of State is now a service center for businesses in Iowa, the nation and the world and is committed to making sure Iowa remains a gateway for the world by being an advocate for Iowa business and products and making government more business friendly".

They can be a help or a hindrance and that would have an impact on job creation.

Dave Price said...


I would address you by name, but you didn't use her name. You are out of line for saying that I "hate the fact that Schultz won". Repubs and Dems both told me they had questions about whether Schultz, other than requiring a photo i.d., was addressing the issues of the office. Schultz could go on to have a distinguished and successful career in office. And I assume most Iowans would wish for that.

Perhaps, when he gets in office, he will be able to better explain how he will use the office to create jobs. There's no question the state could use the jobs right now.