For the past several years, a number of us have been counseling that the road to Republican victories in Iowa ran through Eastern Iowa and that rebuilding the GOP in Scott County was central to that strategy.
Not since the mid-90s have Republicans experienced the level of success in Scott County witnessed on Tuesday night. Scott County was carried by GOP candidates for Governor, United States Senator, U.S. Congress, Secretary of State, Secretary of Agriculture and State Auditor. In addition, GOP candidates swept all three seats on the County Board of Supervisors, winning 52% of the cumulative vote. Notably, 51% of the vote was the highest percentage won by any Democrat running with opposition county-wide. (Tom Miller and Mike Fitzgerald). In addition, Ross Paustian (HD-84) and Roby Smith (SD-41) ran impressive campaigns in very competitive districts and won decisive victories. Republicans now claim a majority in the Scott County legislative delegation (5-4).
A few observations:
- In Scott County, Republican candidates clearly benefited from the GOP wave that crested very high in the Midwest. Just across the River, GOP was scoring victories in Illinois congressional districts and United States Senate races. Rock Island County voted Republican!
- However, Scott County was the only larger urban county in Eastern Iowa carried by Governor Branstad (51%-46%). While Governor Branstad ran strong in Eastern Iowa, he was edged by Governor Culver in Linn, Black Hawk, Johnson and Dubuque counties.
- It is interesting to note that in Scott County the retention vote for Supreme Court judges, the “Yes” vote prevailed narrowly (51% for all three justices). This result is further evidence suggesting that Republican victories in Scott County were based on economy, jobs, fiscal issues, and concern about rapid growth of government.
- As of Election Day morning, Republicans had cast only 327 fewer early vote ballots than Democrats. This was a significant improvement from recent elections. In total, Dems cast 10,451 straight party ballots while GOP voters cast 10,111. Clearly winning Republican candidates prevailed by getting majority of votes of no-party voters and winning more cross-over voters.
The bottom line is that voters in Eastern Iowa and Scott County are swing voters and Republican chances of winning these swing voters are directly impacted by the quality of candidates and the quality of their campaigns. This year’s GOP success in Scott County cannot be attributed solely to the Republican wave, rather credit goes to quality candidates and quality campaigns. Further, these campaigns benefitted from an unprecedented and impressive level of support from the Scott County Republican Party and extensive local GOP financial support and volunteer activism. It’s a formula for success that must be emulated throughout Eastern Iowa as we prepare to carry Iowa in 2012 for the GOP presidential nominee.
UPDATE: TheIowaRepublican.com has learned that Ternus was voted down in Scott County.
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