Iowa Hosting Four Fierce Congressional Races Thanks to Redistricting

In Iowa, four red hot races make the swing state even more vital in 2012.


"The speaker is very close with Tom Latham. There is a lot of pressure coming from the speaker not to give to us," McTigue says. [Romney Won't Pick Woman VP Because of Sarah Palin.]

Boswell, a Vietnam War and NATO veteran, is one of most decorated Democratic member of the House of Representatives. The blue dog Democrat supports President Barack Obama, but has a reputation of reaching across the aisle, including his recent deflection from the party line when he voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Boswell hopes to use Obama's in-state appearances (Iowa is currently considered a toss-up in the presidential election) to bolster his own campaign.

McTigue says Boswell will support Obama even though the two don't always see eye to eye, and will try to lump Latham in with his House GOP colleagues who have earned a reputation for gridlock and stalemate.

"Leonard Boswell is a fighter and when he supports someone, unlike some people in the Democratic party, he is not afraid to show that," McTigue says. "We feel uniquely positioned to do well. [Latham] has voted 93 percent of the time with house leadership, a leadership that has shown a complete lack of ability to compromise at all or really act like grown ups."

Meanwhile, Latham's campaign is betting on the Republican advantage in the district, where as of May, there were roughly 12,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats.

"Things have been moving in that direction ever since January 2009," says Latham Chief of Staff James Carstensen. "The state that has launched the president's campaign in 2008 is a state that is moving away from his party."

While Carstensen dismisses Boswell's accusation that Boehner has been discouraging donations to Boswell, calling it a "fundraising fairy tale," the campaign admits Boehner's been a big player for them.

"The speaker was here in May and he did a breakfast and dinner reception for us," Carstensen says. "It is always helpful when you have a popular surrogate come in and add a higher level of excitement for an event."

Iowa's first congressional district swings to the other side of the political spectrum, but isn't a forgone conclusion to stay in Democratic hands.

In 2010, incumbent Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley won narrowly against GOP challenger Ben Lange, who is running against the congressman for a second time, packing a new slew of A-list supporters, including former GOP presidential nominee Rick Santorum.

In Iowa's second district, campaign finance reports show Democratic Rep. David Loebsack is out raising his Republican opponent John Archer by more than $600,000. But redistricting and an anti-incumbent sentiment could make the area more friendly to Republicans.

The new district includes more rural counties and has 163,000 registered Democrats and 137,000 registered Republicans, but the majority of the district consists of independent voters.

Those independent voters have yet to decide who they'll cast ballots for, a refrain that seems to be a state-wide theme as November approaches.

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  • Corrected on : This story has been updated to clarify that King’s residence became part of Iowa’s 4th District due to redistricting.