Iowa senate incumbents dominate ballot

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August 12, 2010

By Gabrielle Thompson

In the Iowa State Senate, a state with no term limits, incumbents factor heavily on the ballot in this fall's election, according to a Ballotpedia analysis.

According to the data, states with term limits have a much higher rate of turnover than non-term limited states. Nationwide, 18 percent of seats are considered open -- where there is no incumbent running for re-election. But in states with term limits, that number jumps to 48.51 percent. In states without term limits, only 13.78 percent of seats are open.

In Iowa, there are 25 seats up for election. Incumbents are running for re-election in 84 percent of those seats. Of the 21 seats where an incumbent is running, 8 of them face no primary or general election challenge (5 Democrats and 3 Republicans). Incumbents Roger Stewart (D), Ron Wieck (R), and Steve Warnstadt (D) are not seeking re-election.

With a currently Democratic dominating state senate (see below), this fall's race will weigh heavily on the partisan balance across the country.

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 26
     Republican Party 24
Total 50

According to Louis Jacobson, a political analyst with Governing magazine, the Iowa Senate is leaning Democratic but is not solid because of the controversies.[1]

Across the country, only 21.44% of all incumbents are facing a challenge in the primary. Thirty-eight percent of incumbents in Iowa faced no challenge in the primary or general election. Nationally, 24.86 % of incumbents are not facing any primary or general election challenge.

Partisan incumbents

Nationally, more Democrat incumbents are not running for re-election than Republicans. Additionally, more Democrats are facing primary opposition.

Category Democrats in Iowa Republicans in Iowa Democrats nationwide Republicans nationwide
Incumbent seats open 2 1 TBD TBD
Incumbents facing primary 0 1 TBD TBD
Incumbents running unopposed in primary and general 5 3 TBD TBD

See also