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This is the final in a very long series that will be summarized tomorrow- Election Day- then I will do a follow up later this week to see how I did and where I went wrong. Originally, I held Iowa out for last because I thought we would have a tie up to this point and Iowa would decide it. It may still. I stand by my conviction that Romney will sweep the south. But, for anyone who has been following this series knows, I have Romney winning the Presidency, Republicans taking the Senate and keeping the House.
In Iowa, they lost a seat and electoral vote with the 2010 census. That redistricting caused some rearrangement of the political chairs this year. In the First, Democratic incumbent Bruce Braley will face Iowa lawyer Ben Lange seeking his first office. In what could very well be a close race, I am expecting Braley to win. Also, in the 2nd District, Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack will face John Deere executive John Archer. With redistricting, this area got slightly less Democratic although not so much that it dictates a Loebsack loss.
In the Third District, however, things are a lot different. Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell will face current 4th District Republican incumbent Tom Latham so one incumbent will be out of a job come January. Originally, the Third district was nominally Democratic, but with its new boundaries, it becomes nominally Republican. Two things lead this writer to believe that Latham will prevail here. First, both ran in on-competitive primaries with no opposition, yet Republican voters showed up at a rate three times that of the Democrats. Secondly, recent polls indicate a close Latham victory.
Republican incumbent Steven King finds that his Fifth District is now gone, replaced by the current Fourth. King has had a target on his back for some time now. Previous to redistricting, this was the Republican district in the state. It still holds that title now, although considerably less Republican. Because of that, this coupled with their candidate, gives the Democrats their best hope to win this district and oust King. The most recent poll shows, however, King with a three point lead and an overall average of a four point lead in all polling. His opponent will be the wife of former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack- Christie Vilsack. As Goveror, he left that office with high approval ratings and that likely will be to his wife’s advantage.
As redistricted, this area took in 46% of the old 4th District (which was Republican) and 50% of the old 5th District (also Republican) and King’s base. So, despite a known entity in Vilsack, she is fighting the political tendencies of this district. As a result, King will likely keep this district in GOP hands in a race closer than he would like, but one he will win nevertheless.
With no other races and no questions on the ballot, that leaves only the Presidential race and 6 electoral votes. Mitt Romney has turned Iowa into a battleground state as evidenced by the amount of time and money spent by Obama in Iowa. In 2008, he won this state by 140,000 votes and a 53% to 47% margin. This year, it is looking more like 51-49%. There is the possibility he may not win at all. From several sources, it is apparent that he does not receive as enthusiastic a base of support as he did in 2008, especially among Democrats. Realizing he may lose them, that is behind his recent forays into Iowa. However, I believe just enough of a base of support remains to give Obama this state’s 6 electoral votes.