A top statehouse Republican says his party only needs to turn a few hundred votes in their favor to regain control of the Iowa House from Democrats. In the 2006 election, Democrats won 53 of the 100 seats in the House.
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says when you count up the votes statewide, Republican candidates for the House lost the 2006 election by 1,400 votes and it would take just a few votes in a few of the 100 districts to turn things around this November.
"It’s swing districts that matter and in those swing districts Republicans lost (by) very small margins so if we can flip, you know, say 50 votes up in Cedar Falls — we pick up another seat. If we flip a couple hundred votes over in Council Bluffs, Iowa — we pick up another seat," Rants says. "Small margins in a handful of districts is what will make or break the House of Representatives."
Rants says Republicans are targeting some Democrats who were first elected to the House in 2006 in the Davenport and Oskaloosa areas as well as an open seat in the Cedar Rapids area. "I like our chances for the fall campaign," Rants says. Rants contends that Democrats who control the debate agenda at the statehouse are leaving Republicans an opening by ignoring some issues like property tax relief and higher standards for Iowa’s public K-through-12 schools.
"Those are the kind of issues Republicans will be talking about this fall," Rants says. "We think that voters are disappointed with sort of the left-wing, big labor, liberal social agenda that’s being pushed in Des Moines right now. They’re looking for a return to those bread-and-butter, kitchen-table kind of issues."
Democrats say they’re well-positioned to win a majority of House races in 2008 as they expect a large turn-out for the presidential race. Democrats also point to the voter-registration edge Democrats now hold over Republicans in Iowa. Rants made his comments this morning during taping of the "Iowa Press" program which will air tonight on Iowa Public Television.