Government

Political data site likes Democrats' chances to take House

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, poses for a photo with Abby Finkenauer at a canvassing event for Abby Finkenauer at her campaign office on First Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids on Friday, June 29, 2018. Finkenauer was joined by state and federal representatives. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, poses for a photo with Abby Finkenauer at a canvassing event for Abby Finkenauer at her campaign office on First Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids on Friday, June 29, 2018. Finkenauer was joined by state and federal representatives. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

They have crunched the numbers, and it looks good for Democrats. Call it the data-driven representation of the blue wave.

The data journalism team at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com last week published its projections of all U.S. House races this November, as well as the collective race for the House majority.

The site’s calculations are bullish on Democrats’ chances: FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 3 in 4 chance of winning enough seats to earn the majority.

There is reason for optimism for Iowa Democrats in FiveThirtyEight’s projections as well. The site gives Democrats strong odds to defeat incumbent Republicans in Iowa’s most competitive U.S. House districts: the 1st District in Eastern Iowa and 3rd District in central Iowa.

FiveThirtyEight gives Democratic challenger Abby Finkenauer a 5-in-7 chance of beating Republican incumbent Rod Blum, and Democratic challenger Cindy Axne has a 2-in-3 chance of beating Republican incumbent David Young.

Both are listed among the site’s 25 races most likely to determine control of the U.S. House.

FiveThirtyEight’s model uses polling and other indicators, such as past election results and fundraising, to forecast election results. Its numbers are fluid and will be updated daily until the November election.

GOP could boost Senate edge

It’s entirely feasible that Iowa Democrats this fall could win enough seats to earn a majority in the Iowa House, and yet Republicans could build an even larger advantage in the Senate.

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Even if Democrats generally, in Iowa or nationally, are successful in this fall’s election, the Iowa Senate map is challenging for Democrats. And two Democratic retirements have created opportunities for Republicans to add to their 29-20 advantage.

Chaz Allen of Newton has retired in a central Iowa district; Republican Zach Nunn, who comes from the House, will face a to-be-determined Democrat. Former Senate staffer Taylor Van De Krol had earned the nomination at convention after Allen’s retirement, but Friday dropped out of the race citing personal reasons. Local Democrats will have to pick a new candidate to face Nunn.

And Rita Hart left her Senate re-election bid to be Fred Hubbell’s running mate in Iowa’s gubernatorial race. In Hart’s southeast Iowa district, Democrat Patti Robinson will face Republican Chis Cournouyer.

Both races represent possible pickups for Republicans, meaning the Iowa GOP could expand its control over the Senate even in a year when Democrats potentially could pick up seats — and perhaps even the majority — in the House.

In addition, Republicans are virtually guaranteed to pick up a seat after the retirement of Republican-turned-independent Sen. David Johnson. The only candidate in the race to replace Johnson in the western Iowa district is Republican Zach Whiting.

Iowa’s redistricting model touted

Iowa’s nonpartisan process of redrawing legislative boundaries every 10 years will be the subject of an event held in Washington and hosted by the Harkin Institute.

Drawn Out: How Iowa Got Redistricting Right will be held Sept. 18 at the National Press Club. Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report, will lead a panel discussion that will include former Iowa League of Women Voters President Jean Lloyd-Jones, Iowa Statehouse officials involved in the design of Iowa’s redistricting process and its implementation, and current and former Iowa statehouse reporters.

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government for Lee Enterprises. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ErinDMurphy.

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