Iowa's 3rd Congressional District elections, 2012

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Iowa's 3rd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Tom Latham Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Leonard Boswell Democratic Party
Leonard Boswell.jpg

Iowa U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Iowa.png
The 3rd Congressional District of Iowa held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. The incumbent from the 4th District, Tom Latham, won the election.
This is the 3rd Congressional District prior to the 2010 redistricting.
Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 16, 2012
June 5, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Iowa has a mostly closed primary system: voters must be registered with the Democratic or Republican party in order to vote in the primary, but they may switch their party affiliation on election day.[1]

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by May 26.[1] For the general election, the voter pre-registration deadline was October 27,[2] but voters could also register at the polls on Election Day, provided they brought proper documentation.[3]

See also: Iowa elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Leonard Boswell (D), who was first elected in 1996.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Iowa's 3rd Congressional District currently covers an area in the southeastern corner of Iowa. Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, Warren, Madison, Adair, Cass, Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Montgomery, Taylor, Adams, Union and Ringgold counties are included in this district.[4]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Leonard Boswell
Republican Party Tom LathamGreen check mark transparent.png
Independent David Rosenfeld
Independent Scott G. Batcher

May 8, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Independent Socialist Workers Party

Election results

U.S. House, Iowa District 3 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTom Latham Incumbent 52.3% 202,000
     Democratic Leonard Boswell 43.7% 168,632
     Independent David Rosenfeld 1.6% 6,286
     Independent Scott G. Batcher 2.4% 9,352
Total Votes 386,270
Source: Iowa Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race background

Iowa's 3rd was considered to be a Tossup according to the New York Times race ratings. Due to redistricting, incumbent Leonard Boswell (D) faced off against incumbent Tom Latham (R) in the general election in a district that is made up of nearly the same number of Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters.[8]

Incumbent Tom Latham was a part of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, a program to help House Republicans stay on offense and increase their majority in 2012.[9]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Iowa

The 3rd District includes Des Moines and its suburbs.[10]

Tom Latham moved to Clive to take on Leonard Boswell in the 3rd District after his previous home in Ames in the 4th District was drawn into the same district as Steve King during redistricting, in which King's 5th District became obsolete.[11]

The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[12][13]

Registration statistics

As of October 24, 2012, District 3 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the Iowa Secretary of State:

Iowa Congressional District 3[14]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 3 453,652 148,881 163,622 141,149 Republican 9.90% 28.24%
"Party advantage" is the percentage gap between the two major parties in registered voters. "Change in advantage" is the spread in difference of party advantage between 2010 and 2012 based on the congressional district number only.

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Iowa's 3rd District became more Republican because of redistricting.[15]

  • 2012: 49D / 51R
  • 2010: 51D / 49R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Iowa's 3rd Congressional District has a PVI of R+1, which is the 230th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 53-47 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 53-47 percent over John Kerry (D).[16]



Tom Latham was targeted by the super PAC House Majority PAC.[17] The Democratic-allied PAC spent about $400,000 on defeating Latham, primarily through TV ads.[18][19]

"House Majority PAC ad against Tom Latham: 'Valentine's Day'"

"House Majority PAC ad against Tom Latham: 'Headlines'"

"House Majority PAC ad against Tom Latham: 'Bad Idea'"

Campaign donors

The race attracted over $2.2 million in outside spending after Labor Day. $851,288 was spent helping Democrat Leonard Boswell while $1,315,013 was spent to aid Republican Tom Latham.[20]


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are Leonard Boswell and Tom Latham's reports.

Leonard Boswell (2012)[21] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[22]April 13, 2012$493,782.60$214,540.98$(64,236.75)$644,086.83
Pre-Primary[23]May 24, 2012$644,086.83$96,715.52$(432,975.67)$307,826.68
July Quarterly[24]July 25, 2012$307,826.68$202,836.59$(37,113.36)$473,549.91
October Quarterly[25]October 31, 2012$473,549.91$301,337.99$(548,610.96)$226,276.94
Pre-General[26]October 25, 2012$226,276.94$80,590.39$(158,534.52)$148,332.81
Running totals

Tom Latham (2012)[27] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[28]April 15, 2012$1,917,310.64$409,595.25$(338,793.57)$1,988,112.32
Pre-Primary[29]May 24, 2012$1,988,112.32$142,680.97$(152,712.66)$1,978,080.63
July Quarterly[30]July 14, 2012$1,978,080.63$356,616.93$(189,116.92)$2,145,580.64
October Quarterly[31]October 15, 2012$2,145,580.64$507,579.7$(1,143,477.9)$1,509,682.44
Pre-General[32]October 25, 2012$1,509,682.44$98,983.15$(732,318.72)$876,346.87
Running totals

As of July 11, 2012, Boswell raised $300,000 in the second quarter and at the end of the cycle had $470,000 cash-on-hand.[33]

As of July 11, 2012, Latham raised $500,000 in the second quarter, and at the end of the cycle had $2.14 million in cash on hand.[34]

On October 15, 2012, quarterly reports were submitted by campaigns to the Federal Election Commission. The political blog Daily Kos did an analysis of the fundraising figures and found Republican incumbent Tom Latham outraised Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell in the third quarter. Latham raised $487,000 and had $1,510,000 in cash-on-hand while Boswell raised $300,000 and had $226,000 in cash-on-hand.[35]

District history

Candidate ballot access
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On November 2, 2010, Leonard Boswell won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Brad Zaun (R) and Rebecca Williamson (Socialist Workers) in the general election.[36]

U.S. House, Iowa District 3 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngLeonard Boswell Incumbent 50.7% 122,147
     Republican Brad Zaun 46.5% 111,925
     Socialist Workers Rebecca Williamson 2.6% 6,258
     Independent Write-In 0.2% 426
Total Votes 240,756

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Iowa Secretary of State, "2012 Primary Election," accessed July 24, 2012
  2. Iowa Secretary of State, "Voter Pre-Registration," accessed July 24, 2012
  3. Iowa Secretary of State, "Election Day Registration," accessed July 24, 2012
  4. Iowa Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed July 24, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 "POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Boswell said he feels confident about his chances" accessed December 16, 2011
  6. The Washington Post "Tom Latham to run in Iowa’s 3rd District" accessed December 16, 2011
  7. Iowa Secretary of State "General Election Candidate List," accessed August 15, 2012
  8. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 10, 2012
  9. NRCC "Patriot Program 2012"
  10. Des Moines Register, "Filing deadline makes official big battles in Iowa's 3rd, 4th Districts" accessed March 19, 2012
  11. Des Moines Register, "Filing deadline makes official big battles in Iowa's 3rd, 4th Districts" accessed March 19, 2012
  12. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "Iowa's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  13. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  14. Iowa Secretary of State, "Congressional Voter Registration Statistics," July 2, 2012
  15. , "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Iowa," September 2012
  16. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  17. Open Secrets, "House Majority PAC Independent Expenditures," accessed May 4, 2012
  18. Bloomberg, "Super-PACs Ramp Up Spending on Races Where Control of Congress Is at Stake," March 8, 2012
  19. House Majority PAC "Our Ads," accessed May 4, 2012
  20. The New York Times, "Outside Spending in Key House Races," October 25, 2012
  21. FEC Reports, "Leonard Boswell Summary Reports" accessed July 13, 2012
  22. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly," accessed July 13, 2012
  23. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary," accessed July 13, 2012
  24. FEC Reports, "July Quarterly," accessed November 1, 2012
  25. FEC Reports, "October Quarterly," accessed November 1, 2012
  26. FEC Reports, "Pre-General," accessed November 1, 2012
  27. FEC Reports, "Tom Latham Summary Reports" accessed July 13, 2012
  28. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly," accessed July 13, 2012
  29. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary Report," accessed September 27, 2012
  30. FEC Reports, "July Quarterly," accessed September 27, 2012
  31. FEC Reports, "October Quarterly," accessed November 1, 2012
  32. FEC Reports, "Pre-General," accessed November, 2012
  33. Twitter, "Roll Call" accessed July 12, 2012
  34. Twitter, "Roll Call" accessed July 13, 2012
  35. Daily Kos, "Third quarter House fundraising: who's got the cash?" October 18, 2012
  36. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013 accessed November 5, 2011