Today's the big day in Iowa House district 90, where Republicans and conservative interest groups are all-in for Stephen Burgmeier against the Democratic candidate Curt Hanson. Polls close at 9 pm Central Daylight Time. Going into this election, Democrats have a 56-44 majority in the Iowa House, and a victory in this rural swing district would be a boost for the GOP. Beth Dalbey wrote a good feature on the campaign for Iowa Independent. Other news from the race:
Democrats had an early lead in terms of absentee ballots returned, and according to the field organizer for the Fairness Fund, efforts to collect outstanding absentee ballots continued through Monday. We won several Iowa House seats in 2008 through big leads in early voting. A strong absentee ballot showing will be crucial for Hanson, because the national political environment for Democrats is less favorable now than it was last November, conservative groups are heavily invested in this race, and same-sex marriage has galvanized the Republican base in Iowa.
Speaking of gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage has spent nearly $90,000 trying to get Burgmeier elected. It's an astronomical sum to spend in a rural Iowa House district. The group will have to do things differently if they want to get involved in our statehouse races next year:
An out-of-state anti-gay marriage group will likely need to form its own Political Action Committee and disclose its donors if it continues its Iowa activities, a state official warned today [Friday]. [...]
NOM will likely need to disclose future donors if it continues its Iowa activities, Charlie Smithson, the head of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, warned NOM in a letter today.
"I'm not as much concerned with this particular race as I am that Iowa is not going to become a dumping ground for undisclosed campaign contributions," Smithson said in an interview. "Anyone can play the game here, but they are going to play within the rules."
The One Iowa blog has more details and a link to Smithson's letter. The bottom line is that the National Organization for Marriage will need to form a PAC that discloses donors in order to spend more than $750 on advocacy activities in Iowa. Click here to sign One Iowa's petition calling on NOM to disclose their funding sources. (By the way, a money laundering complaint has been filed in Maine in response to the way groups including the NOM are funding efforts to overturn same-sex marriage rights by passing Prop 1.)
Yesterday One Iowa and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund filed a formal ethics complaint against the National Organization for Marriage with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. The NOM claims to be in compliance with Iowa law.
Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register and Jason Hancock of Iowa Independent reported on the disclosure reports filed by Hanson and Burgmeier. The Republican is getting much more help from outside groups, including Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Family Policy Center as well as the National Organization for Marriage.
If you're on Twitter, use #HD90 to find updates from Republicans and Democrats who are involved in this race.
Post any thoughts or election predictions in this thread. I am having trouble making a prediction. This race "should" go to Burgmeier because low-turnout special elections favor the opposition party, and because conservative interest groups have advertised much more in the district. On the other hand, I hear field organizers supporting Hanson on the ground have been doing a tremendous job. The district is also unusual because it includes Fairfield, which has a high number of Green and Libertarian voters. I don't know whether either party has been targeting those groups. I will update this post with my final prediction this afternoon.Update [2009-9-1 19:39:21 by desmoinesdem]:
Volunteers and field organizers are working hard today GOTV for Hanson
, but I fear the Republican is going to narrowly win. My wild guess is 53-47 for Burgmeier, but I'd love to be wrong!