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Iowa's 4th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Iowa's 4th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Steve King Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Tom Latham Republican Party
Tom Latham.jpg

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

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Iowa.png
The 4th Congressional District of Iowa held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. The district went to Steve King, the incumbent from the 5th District, which was removed in redistricting.[1]
This is the 4th 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.[2]

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by May 26.[2] For the general election, the voter pre-registration deadline was October 27,[3] but voters could also register at the polls on Election Day, provided they brought proper documentation.[4]

See also: Iowa elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Tom Latham (R), who was first elected in 1995. Latham, who lived in the new 4th District, moved south, into the 3rd District, to avoid facing fellow Republican Steve King in a primary.[5]

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Iowa's 4th Congressional District covers most of the north-central part of the state. The district includes Ames and Fort Dodge. Lyon, Sioux, Plymouth, Woodbury, Monona, Harrison, Shelby, Crawford, Audubon, Carroll, Greene, Boone, Story, Hardin, Hamilton, Webster, Calboun, Sac, Ida, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Webster, Hamilton, Franklin, Butler, Chicksaw, Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago, Kossuth, Emmett, Palo Alto, Dickinson, Osceola, O'Brien, Clay and Grundy counties.[6]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Christie Vilsack
Republican Party Steve King Green check mark transparent.png
Independent Martin James Monroe[7]

May 8, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Race background

Iowa's 4th was considered to be Leaning Republican according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Steve King was challenged by his first real Democratic opponent, Christie Vilsack. It was an uphill battle for Vilsack, despite the fact that she initially had a fundraising advantage.[9]

Two committees, SEIU and American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees AFL-CIO,AFSCME, filed reports for campaign spending directed against incumbent Steve King. SEIU reportedly spent more than $30,000 on advertisements against King, while AFSCME reportedly spent $26,000.[10][11]

Iowa's 4th District was included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identified districts that the organization specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[12]


Steve King vs. Christie Vilsack

Poll Steve King Christie VilsackDon't knowSample Size
Public Policy Polling
(September 24-25, 2012)

Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Incumbent Steve King, who defeated 2010 opponent Matthew Campbell by over 65,200 votes, faced a considerably more difficult race in 2012. As the New York Times reported, this occurred at the same time support for tea party candidates nationwide has dwindled. In the election's first debate, Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack asked pointed questions regarding a Farm Bill that the U.S. House failed to pass.[13]

However, Christie Vilsack faced an uphill battle in a socially conservative district. Like other Democratic candidates running in socially conservative areas, notably Jim Graves who is challenging tea-party favorite Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, Vilsack steered away from hot button, national issues like abortion. Instead, she focused on local initiatives and ways the government might assist farmers.[14]


The videos below are campaign ads from Democratic candidate Christie Vilsack and Republican candidate Steve King.

Christie Vilsack

Christie Vilsack "Just Iowa"[15]

Steve King

Steve King "Land"[16]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Iowa

The new 4th District comprises mostly territory which King currently represents in the 5th District and which tends to vote for Republican candidates.[17] The new 4th District stretches from the Missouri River nearly to Waterloo, Iowa.[18] It includes Ames, Mason City, Fort Dodge, Sioux City and northwest Iowa.[19]

The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[20][21]

Registration statistics

As of October 24, 2012, District 4 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the Iowa Secretary of State:

Iowa Congressional District 4[22]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 4 474,193 126,750 179,964 167,479 Republican 41.98% 37.79%
"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 4th District became less Republican because of redistricting.[23]

  • 2012: 46D / 54R
  • 2010: 41D / 59R

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 4th Congressional District has a PVI of R+4, which is the 234th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 51-49 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 55-45 percent over John Kerry (D).[24]

Campaign donors


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are Christie Vilsack and Steve King's reports.

Christie Vilsack (2012)[25] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[26]April 15, 2012$751,530.16$395,433.24$(241,536.24)$905,427.16
Pre-Primary[27]October 13, 2012$905,427.16$235,110.12$(251,872.03)$888,665.25
July Quarterly[28]October 13, 2012$888,665.25$285,258.98$(327,719.22)$846,205.01
October Quarterly[29]October 18, 2012$846,205.01$694,928.22$(1,102,998.99)$438,134.24
Pre-General[30]October 25, 2012$438,134.24$252,485.96$(470,133.51)$220,486.69
Running totals
Steve King[31] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[32]April 14, 2012$529,490.09$446,976.28$(166,611.93)$809,854.44
Pre-Primary[33]May 24, 2012$809,854.44$378,490.69$(155,180.21)$1,033,164.92
July Quarterly[34]July 15, 2012$1,033,164.92$476,590.80$(243,594.00)$1,266,161.72
October Quarterly[35]October 15, 2012$1,266,161.72$1,050,484.24$(1,279,403.82)$1,037,242.14
Pre-General[36]October 25, 2012$1,037,242.14$262,370.95$(656,539.08)$643,074.01
Running totals

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 5, 2010, Tom Latham won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Bill Maske (D) and Dan Lensing (I) in the general election.[37]

U.S. House, Iowa District 4 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTom Latham Incumbent 65.6% 152,588
     Democratic Bill Maske 32% 74,300
     Independent Dan Lensing 2.4% 5,499
     Independent Write-In 0.1% 132
Total Votes 232,519

See also

External links


  1. Politico, "2012 House Race Results," accessed November 6, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Iowa Secretary of State, "2012 Primary Election," accessed July 24, 2012
  3. Iowa Secretary of State, "Voter Pre-Registration," accessed July 24, 2012
  4. Iowa Secretary of State, "Election Day Registration," accessed July 24, 2012
  5. The Washington Post, "Tom Latham to run in Iowa’s 3rd District" accessed December 16, 2011
  6. Iowa Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed July 24, 2012
  7. Iowa Secretary of State "General Election Candidate List," accessed August 15, 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Messenger "Vilsack launches campaign" accessed December 16, 2011
  9. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 10, 2012
  12. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  13. New York Times, "In Iowa and Beyond, Redrawn Districts Test Favorites of Tea Party," accessed: October 12, 2012
  14. New York Times, "In Iowa and Beyond, Redrawn Districts Test Favorites of Tea Party," accessed: October 12, 2012
  15. http:// YouTube channel]
  16. YouTube channel]
  17. Roll Call, "Race Ratings: Competitive Races On Tap in Iowa" accessed February 29, 2012
  18. Des Moines Register, "Filing deadline makes official big battles in Iowa's 3rd, 4th Districts" accessed March 19, 2012
  19. Des Moines Register, "King has more than $1 million on hand for race against Vilsack" accessed May 23, 2012
  20. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "Iowa's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  21. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  22. Iowa Secretary of State, "Congressional Voter Registration Statistics," July 2, 2012
  23. , "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Iowa," September 2012
  24. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Christie Vilsack's Summary Report," accessed September 27, 2012
  26. Federal Elections Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed September 27, 2012
  27. Federal Elections Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed November 1, 2012"
  28. Federal Elections Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed November 1, 2012"
  29. Federal Elections Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 1, 2012
  30. Federal Elections Commission, "Pre-General," accessed November 1, 2012
  31. Federal Election Commission, "Steve King's Summary Report," accessed September 27, 2012
  32. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed September 27, 2012
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed November 1, 2012
  34. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed September 27, 2012
  35. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," November 1, 2012
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-General," November 1, 2012
  37. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013 accessed November 5, 2011