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ELECTION 2018 OUTLOOK

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The Iowa Legislature will not look the same next year.  In addition to being the second funnel deadline, March 16th was also the filing deadline for legislative candidates to file their papers for the November election.  As expected, there are a large number of retirements, leaving seats open for a legislative newcomer.  Here is the list of retirements, as of the Friday filing deadline.

  • TWO REPUBLICAN SENATORS NOT RUNNING AGAIN: Senate Republicans currently have 29 seats in the Iowa Senate, but only ten of them are up for election this year.  Two of those ten are retiring:
  • THREE DEMOCRATIC SENATORS NOT RUNNING AGAIN: Senate Democrats have 20 seats in the Iowa Senate, and nearly all of them (14) are up this year.  The three retiring Senators are the Senate's most senior members, with more than 100 years of service combined.  They include:
    • Sen. Matt McCoy of Des Moines (Senate District 21) is leaving after 22 years in the Senate to run for Polk County Supervisor. 
    • Sen. Wally Horn of Cedar Rapids (Senate District 35) is the longest continually serving state legislator in Iowa’s history. He is finishing his ninth four-year term in the Iowa Senate. Before that, he served five two-year terms in the Iowa House.
    • Sen. Bob Dvorsky of Coralville (Senate District 37) has served 24 years in the Iowa Senate and 7 years in the Iowa House.
       
  • ONLY INDEPENDENT IN SENATE RUNNING AGAIN: State Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedon (Senate District 1) is the only Independent member of the Iowa Senate. He too is up for re-election, but this will be his first running as an Independent. He was previously elected as a Republican, before changing his party affiliation after President Trump insulted people with disabilities.  Three people are seeking the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Johnson in the November election.
  • FOUR DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVES NOT RUNNING AGAIN: House Democrats currently have 41 seats in the Iowa House of Representatives, and all are up for re-election.  The following will not be running again:
    • Rep. Helen Miller of Ft. Dodge (House District 9)
    • Rep. Todd Taylor of Cedar Rapids (House District 70) is running (unopposed) for Sen. Horn's seat.
    • Rep. Jerry Kearns of Keokuk (House District 83)
    • Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque (House District 99) is running for Congress (if she wins the primary, she will run against U.S. Rep. Rod Blum).

There were a few familiar names in the list of those running this year:

  • Former State Representative Dave Dawson of Lawton will run against Senator Jim Carlin (who won the Senate District 3 seat in a primary election in December).  
  • Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health who ran against Congressman David Loebsack multiple times, has announced she is running as the Republican for Senator Mark Chelgren's seat.

Overall, there are 34 legislators currently running unopposed (24 House Democrats, 5 House Republicans, 1 Senate Republican, 4 Senate Democrats).  Five Republican legislators have someone challenging them in the primary (Sen. Jack Whitver, Rep. Mike Sexton, Rep. David Sieck, Rep. Peter Cownie, Rep. David Maxwell).  One Democratic legislator faces primary competition (Rep. Rick Olson).

You can see the full list of primary election candidates here.  If a party did not field a candidate before the March 16 deadline, it can still pick someone at their party convention.  The primary election is Tuesday, June 5, 2018.  You can check your registration and more online at sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/primaryelection2018.html.