Candidates Ernst and Smith contend for District 48

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December 15, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa: Two candidates have been nominated to run in the January 4 special election to fill Lt. Governor-elect Kim Reynolds' now vacant District 48 seat.

Democratic candidate Ruth Smith and Republican candidate Joni Ernst are campaigning for the seat, which was vacated by Reynolds, who resigned last month to become Iowa's next Lieutenant Governor.[1][2][3]

Smith has made the rounds once before, in a race which she lost to Kim Reynolds in 2008. Reynolds beat Smith by a margin of 53 percent to 43 percent.[4]

Both candidates face a tough home stretch, with many obstacles to overcome. Inclement winter weather, a lack of TV and radio coverage and voter fatigue are some of the hurdles they face. For example, District 48 has no local TV stations, and only a few radio stations have sufficient signals to cover the district.[3]

Voter fatigue may be the biggest obstacle for the candidates. The primary and general elections of 2010 were exhausting for many, and may have left voters un-motivated to go to the polls yet again.[3] "People can’t drag themselves to even regular elections,” Iowa State University political science professor Steffen Schmidt said. “(Those elected) get picked by a really small percentage of people.”[3]

The election will take place on January 4, 2011. Results may be found on Ballotpedia and the Iowa Secretary of State's website.

As of the November 2010 election, Democrats have a 4-seat lead for Senate control. If Smith wins the race on January 4, Democrats will have a 28-22 lead. A victory by Ernst would maintain the 27-23 difference.

Iowa State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 32 27
     Republican Party 18 23
Total 50 50

See also

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