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Stories about Iowa

Voters flip Iowa House seat to Republican in Oct. 12 special election

A special general election was held for Iowa House of Representatives District 29 on Oct. 12. Jon Dunwell (R) won the special election with 59.8% of the vote, defeating Steve Mullan (D).

The special election was called after Wesley Breckenridge (D) resigned to take a job with the Iowa Law Enforcement Agency on Sept. 10. Breckenridge served from 2017 to 2021. Breckenridge defeated Dunwell for the House 29 seat in the 2020 election. 

This was the third state legislative special election held in Iowa in 2021. A special election for Senate District 41 was held on Jan. 26 and for House District 37 on Sept. 14.

As of Oct. 13, three seats had flipped as a result of state legislative special elections. Connecticut State Senate District 36 flipped from Democratic to Republican, and New Hampshire House of Representatives District Hillsborough 7 flipped from Republican to Democratic. 

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Candidates set for Iowa House 29 special election

Candidates interested in running in the special election for Iowa House of Representatives District 29 had until Sept. 28 to file. The general election is scheduled for Oct. 12. 

The Democratic candidate is Steve Mullan, and the Republican candidate is Jon Dunwell.

The special election was called after Wesley Breckenridge (D) resigned to take a job with the Iowa Law Enforcement Agency on Sept. 10. Breckenridge served from 2017 to 2021. Breckenridge defeated Dunwell for the House 29 seat in the 2020 election. 

As of Sept. 30, this will mark the third special election for the Iowa State Legislature in 2021. A special election for Senate District 41 was held on Jan. 26. Adrian Dickey (R) defeated Mary Stewart (D). The seat became vacant after Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) resigned to assume a seat on the U.S. House of Representatives. On the Sept. 14, Mike Bousselot (R) defeated Andrea Phillips (D) in the House District 37 special election. The seat became vacant after John Landon (R) died in July 2021.

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Special election for vacant Iowa House seat called for October

A special election has been called to fill the vacant Iowa House of Representatives seat in District 29. The seat became vacant on Sept. 10 when former state Rep. Wesley Breckenridge (D) resigned to take a job with the Iowa Law Enforcement Agency.

The special election is scheduled for Oct. 12. The candidate filing deadline for the election is Sept. 28. According to the Jasper County Elections website, absentee voting will begin sometime after Sept. 29 and run through Oct. 11. The start of absentee voting will depend on when the auditor’s office receives ballots. Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT. 

To date, 64 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Redistricting Roundup: Ohio Redistricting Commission approves state legislative redistricting maps by party-line vote

Here’s a summary of the week’s noteworthy redistricting news from Iowa and Ohio, and authorities in seven states released draft congressional or legislative maps:

Ohio: The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 party-line vote on Sept. 9. If the Commission files those maps with the secretary of state, they would be effective for four years since they passed without support from two commissioners from each party. 

This is the first state legislative redistricting conducted under Ohio’s Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment that voters approved in 2015. The Commission consists of the governor, state auditor, secretary of state, and four members of the state legislature —two from each party. Maps drawn by the commission are valid for 10 years if at least two commissioners from each major political party vote for them. Should the maps be passed along strictly partisan lines, the maps are valid for two general elections of the state House of Representatives.

The deadline for the Commission to adopt final state legislative maps was Sept. 15. The Ohio Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all cases involving state legislative redistricting.

Iowa: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 14 that they were extending the deadline for state legislative redistricting to Dec. 1 due to delays in receiving data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Court said because the process would not be complete by the state’s Sept. 15 constitutional deadline, it was exercising its responsibility and authority over redistricting. The Iowa Legislative Services Agency has said that the Iowa Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission would release the first draft of proposed state legislative district maps on Sept. 16.

Nationwide: Redistricting commissions or state legislative committees in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Nebraska all released draft congressional or legislative maps.

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Kirsten Engel, Wesley Breckenridge resign from state legislatures

Two Democrats, Kirsten Engel and Wesley Breckenridge, resigned from their state legislatures on Sept. 8 and 10, respectively. Senator Engel represented Arizona Senate District 10 from Jan. 11, 2021, to Sept. 8, 2021, while Rep. Breckenridge represented Iowa House District 29 from 2017 to 2021.

Engel resigned to focus on her 2022 campaign for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. As of Sept. 10, Engel was one of three Democrats Ballotpedia identified as running in the primary. Before joining the state Senate, Engel represented Arizona House District 10 from 2017 to 2021.

Breckenridge resigned to take a job with the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. He most recently won re-election in 2020, winning with 51.5% of the vote to Jon Dunwell’s (R) 48.4%.

Arizona is one of seven states to fill state legislative vacancies through appointments via Board of City Commissioners. Iowa is one of 25 states to fill such vacancies through special elections. 

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Special election to be held in Iowa state House district on Sept. 14

A special election is being held on Sept. 14 to fill a vacant seat in District 37 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Andrea Phillips (D) and Mike Bousselot (R) are running in the special election. Both candidates were selected to run in the special election by their respective political parties in conventions. The winner of the special election will serve until January 2023.

This Polk County-based House seat became vacant on July 29 after John Landon (R) died. He had served in the state House since 2013. He won re-election in 2020 by defeating Phillips with 53.1% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 58-41 majority in the Iowa state House with one vacancy. Iowa has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of September 2021, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 20 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Iowa held 22 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Redistricting Roundup: Colorado redistricting commission releases new proposed congressional maps

Here’s a summary of the week’s noteworthy redistricting news from Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, and Texas.

Colorado: The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission staff released a proposed congressional district map on Sept. 3. This is the first proposed map the commission released since the U.S. Census Bureau distributed block-level data from the 2020 census to states on Aug. 12. The commission is holding public hearings about the newly released maps during the week of Sept. 7.

The Colorado Supreme Court previously ordered on July 26 that the Commission submit final congressional redistricting plans for approval no later than Oct. 1. Colorado was apportioned eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census—a net gain of one seat for the state.

Connecticut: The Connecticut General Assembly Reapportionment Committee will not create congressional and state legislative district maps by the state’s constitutional deadline of Sept. 15, according to The CT Mirror. If the deadline is not met, redistricting in Connecticut will be decided by a nine-member backup commission consisting of eight members appointed by the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the legislature and a ninth member selected by the eight appointed commission members. Maps determined by the backup commission are not subject to legislative approval. Connecticut previously used this process in 2011 after the committee did not meet the deadline that year.

Iowa: The Iowa Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission announced it would release the first draft of proposed state legislative district maps on Sept. 16. The Iowa Constitution states that the Iowa Supreme Court is responsible for legislative redistricting if the general assembly doesn’t enact new maps before Sept. 15. In April, the Iowa Supreme Court released a statement saying that “the supreme court tentatively plans to meet its constitutional responsibility by implementing a process which permits, to the extent possible, the redistricting framework…to proceed after September 15.”

Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Sept. 7 that he was calling a special session of the state legislature to address redistricting and other issues beginning Sept. 20.

Two Democratic state senators filed a lawsuit in federal district court on Sept. 1 arguing that the legislature cannot legally redraw district maps during a special session since the Texas Constitution requires lawmakers to begin the process after the “first regular session after the publication of each United States decennial census.” The lawsuit asks the court to draw interim maps until the state’s next regular legislative session in January 2023.

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Special election for Iowa State House District 37 to be held Sept. 14

The special general election for Iowa State House District 37 is scheduled for Sept. 14. There are currently two candidates competing for the seat. Andrea Phillips was selected in the Democratic convention, and Mike Bousselot was chosen in the Republican convention. As of Aug. 20, no third party or independent candidates had filed. 

The seat became vacant on July 29 after John Landon (R) died.

The Sept. 14 election will mark the second state legislative special election in Iowa in 2021. Iowa State Senate District 41 was filled via special election on January 26 after Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) was elected to the U.S. House. Adrian Dickey (R) won the seat.

As of August 2021, 51 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 18 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

Additional reading: 

https://ballotpedia.org/Iowa_state_legislative_special_elections,_2021

https://ballotpedia.org/Iowa_State_Senate_District_41



Jennifer Konfrst elected as minority leader of Iowa House

Democrats in the Iowa House of Representatives selected Rep. Jennifer Konfrst (D-43) as the new House minority leader on June 14. Konfrst replaces Rep. Todd Prichard (D-52), who announced on June 2 that he would be stepping down as minority leader. Konfrst is the first woman to lead the Iowa House Democrats. 

“I’m honored to earn the trust of my colleagues to lead our fight to ensure Iowans’ voices are heard and truly represented in Des Moines,” Konfrst said in a statement following the vote.

Konfrst was first elected to the Iowa House in 2018 and was re-elected in 2020. She had been serving as House minority whip since the start of her second term in January 2021.

The minority leader of a state house is responsible for directing the minority party strategy, assembling party members for important votes, and acting as a spokesperson for the party’s policy positions.

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