Iowa house incumbents dominate ballot

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August 12, 2010

By Gabrielle Thompson

In the Iowa House of Representatives, 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 100 seats up for election. Incumbents are running for re-election in 86 percent of those seats. Of the 100 seats where an incumbent is running, 36 of them face no primary or general election challenge (11 Democrats and 25 Republicans). Incumbents Wesley Whitead (D), Roger Wendt (D), Mike May (R), Marcella Frevert (D), Dolores Mertz (D), Mark Kuhn (D), Polly Bukta (D), Rod Roberts (R), Christopher Rants (R), Wayne Ford (D), Jodi Tymeson (R), Kent Sorenson (R), Elesha Gayman (D), and Doug Struyk (R) are not seeking re-election in 2010.

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

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 43
     Republican Party 57
Total 100

According to Louis Jacobson, a political analyst with Governing magazine, the Iowa House is a tossup in this fall's election.[1]

Additionally, 21 percent of the incumbents in Iowa will face a challenge in the primary. Across the country, only 21.44% of all incumbents are facing a challenge in the primary. Thirty-seven 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

Across the country, 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 8 6 TBD TBD
Incumbents facing primary 5 2 TBD TBD
Incumbents running unopposed in primary and general 11 25 TBD TBD

See also