State lawmakers have been back at work just one week, but some are already looking beyond this session to elections in the fall. The Democrats have a 53-47 advantage in the House and maintaining that edge is their focus. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says it looks as though there won’t be many holes to fill.
McCarthy says it looks like they’ll have somewhere around 50 incumbents running, while it looks like Republicans will have somewhere between 30 and 35. House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque, says things can always change. Murphy says there always the possibility that one or two people may change their minds because of health and other reasons, but he feels right now they’ll have at least 51 people running in November.
Eight Republicans have announced they’re not returning to the House, and McCarthy says he expects more to make announcements. House Minority Leader Christopher Rants Sioux City disputes that claim, saying all the retirements have been announced. Rants says some of the House members are leaving to run for the Senate, where four Republicans and maybe five aren’t running again.
Senate Republican Leader Ron Wieck of Sioux City, says turning things around does not happen quickly. Wieck says it will be a tough fight to maintain their numbers in November, but if they can, he says they could regain a majority in 2010, and probably in 2012. Wieck says they’ve been actively working for fill the retirement gaps.
Wieck says he’s been talking the caucus and potential candidates about a "new energy level" where people want to go out and get the majority back. Democrats hold a 30-20 majority in the Iowa Senate, and are expected to have two senators who won’t run for reelection.