Iowa Democrats Offices Point To State Legislative Strategy

The Iowa Democratic Party announced several new field offices around the state this week, bringing their total number of offices to 24 in the state. The party began opening local offices for the 2016 election back in early May.

Taking a look through the list, most of the obvious cities are there, whether by size or regional geographic location. However, several offices in smaller towns stand out. Their choice by the Democratic Party gives you a good sense of which legislative districts are at the top of their priority list.

I’ve put the full list at the end of this post. You can take a look at them visually on the map at this custom map I made.

The ones that seem particularly noteworthy are in Elkader, Oelwein, Charles City, Osage and Maquoketa. Charles City has the largest population with around 7,500 people. And all of them are within decent driving range of a regional office in a larger city. There’s also an office in both Cedar Rapids and Marion in Linn County. Marion doesn’t always have its own location, and not typically this early.

So why put offices there? For the swing state senate and state house races located there:

Elkader: SD 28, Senator Michael Breitbach (R) vs Jan Heikes (D)

Osage: SD 26, Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm (D) vs Waylon Brown (R) and HD 51, Tim Hejhal (D) vs Jane Bloomingdale (R)

Charles City: SD 26, Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm (D) vs Waylon Brown (R)

Oelwein: SD 32, Senator Brian Schoenjahn (D) vs Craig Johnson (R)

Maquoketa: HD 58, Jessica Kean (D) vs Andy McKean (R)

Marion: SD 34, Senator Liz Mathis (D) vs Rene Gadhela (R), HD 67, Mark Seidl (D) vs Ashley Hinson (R) and HD 68, Representative Ken Rizer (R) vs Molly Donahue (D)

The Charles City and Osage locations were the first ones to “officially” open in the entire state in early May. Senate Democrats wanted to shore up Wilhelm’s reelection effort first and foremost. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has used his considerable influence within the state party (he was instrumental in Andy McGuire’s election – he’s also one of the last Democratic leaders standing) to ensure his senate races got the most assistance. Not all of these districts had this many field offices in them this early in 2012.

As you can also see from the map, by far the largest concentration of offices is in Northeast Iowa. Again, this is largely due to how the state senate map plays out – most of the even-numbered districts (up in presidential years) are all in the Northeast. Most of the swing senate districts in the non-presidential years are closer to Central Iowa.

That also has a big impact for the Congressional campaigns. Monica Vernon’s team has to love the legislative map and corresponding office sites this year. 10 of the state’s 24 field offices are in the 1st District. Dave Loebsack’s 2nd District has 6, David Young/Jim Mowrer’s 3rd District has only 3 (though the vast majority of the population there is in Polk County) and Steve King/Kim Weaver’s 4th District has 5. Occasionally the party will place a few more small offices in the 4th District in places like Algona or Spencer, but the local legislative races there don’t appear to be as strongly targeted this time. It also of course makes sense to have more offices in Eastern Iowa, where’s there a lot more Democrats to turn out.

Notably, Iowa City was not on the party’s list, but Starting Line hears they actually opened up an office there this past week (oftentimes, offices are actually open before they are “officially” open). And in many other places field organizers essentially turn coffee shops into satellite offices where volunteers come on a nightly basis for phone banking and canvass launches.

Here is the full list of offices the party released this week:



New offices:

224 22nd Place, Clinton

3839 Merle Hay Road, Suite 259, Des Moines

33 N 16th Street, Fort Dodge

101 South Market Street, Suite 303, Ottumwa

219 N Federal Avenue, Mason City

307 East 4th Street, Waterloo

100 Laurel Street, Waukee

Previously opened offices:

104 Kellogg Avenue, Ames

1000 N Roosevelt Avenue, Burlington

2706 1st Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids

200 N Main Street, Charles City

217 S Main Street, Council Bluffs

1706 Brady Street, Davenport

218 W Water Street, Decorah

3430 Dodge Street, Suite #2, Dubuque

117 Gunder Road, Classroom #5, Elkader

823 Avenue G, Fort Madison

3 South Frederick Avenue, Oelwein

619 Main Street, Suite B, Osage

2500 S Center Street, Marshalltown

101 Westgate Drive, Maquoketa

131 Marion Boulevard, Suite B, Marion

810 Park Avenue, Muscatine

401 South Lewis Boulevard, Sioux City

by Pat Rynard
Posted 6/18/16

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