I’m waiting to see if someone announces their candidacy for Iowa House District 91, newly created by the Iowa legislature during our post-U.S. Census, decennial redistricting. I’ll say what I’m thinking: electing a Democrat in this district will be difficult. Most of the geography is rural, and 10,757 of 16,506 registered D/R/NP voters live in Iowa County which is even more rural than the Johnson County portion of the district.
The Iowa legislature finalized new districts on Nov. 4, 2021. It was late this year because of the delay in the census. There is no incumbent representative, so it is an open seat. Three months have gone by and no Democrat jumped into the race. Maybe they realize how difficult winning here will be. Maybe they feel there is plenty of time. I’ve been asking around and there might be a person evaluating whether to run as a Democrat. Maybe not. It’s not a good sign.
That’s not to say a Democrat can’t win. The right Democratic candidate with the right connections and ability to relate to Republicans and No Party voters can get elected. In the related Iowa Senate District 46, there is a Democratic and a Republican incumbent who are expected to face off in the November election. Democratic Senator Kevin Kinney is well familiar with getting elected in rural geography and should he run, could aid the House District 91 candidate. We don’t have an official candidate in either race yet.
The January breakdown of voter registrations in Iowa County was 2,481-D, 4,565-R and 3,711-NP. In Johnson County it was 2,760-D, 1,271-R and 1,718-NP. As has been the case in rural elections during the previous 10 years, how no preference voters vote will determine the results. Rural no preference voters lean Republican. My current precinct went Republican across the board in 2020 and is expected to do so again without a strong Democratic candidate. We paid a price for the retirement of Dave Loebsack who won every race in my precinct.
The precinct caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 7, and that is traditionally the time when new candidates speak. In Johnson County we decided to hold a virtual caucus, so that makes it easier for candidates to contact people throughout the county. We’ll see if someone announces.
In the meanwhile, there is not a lot to do in this race but wait and see.