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November 7th, 2012

Braley Re-elected as Lange Comes Up Short Again

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Written by: Craig Robinson

By Craig Robinson

Congressman Bruce Braley has successfully fought off another challenge by Republican Ben Lange.  Lange almost upset Braley in 2010, when he came out of nowhere to finish just two points, or about 4,200 votes, shy of defeating the incumbent Democrat.

The 2010 race between Braley and Lange was one of the closest races in the nation, but the 2012 rematch didn’t live up to it’s billing.  Braley was able to fend off Lange, winning re-election with 56.8 percent of the vote.  Lange finished 15 points behind Braley with 41.8 percent.

Lange’s inability to defeat Braley isn’t necessarily his fault.  Lange was much improved as a candidate, his campaign better run, and his team of advisors was top-notch.  Lange’s second campaign was also better funded as he raised over $1 million for the effort, which is significantly more than he raised for his 2010 race.  What hurt Lange in his 2012 quest against Braley was Mitt Romney’s poor showing in northeast Iowa.

In most cases, redistricting often leaves incumbents more susceptible to defeat.  In Braley’s case, it may have actually saved him.  The newly reconfigured 1st Congressional District picked up areas that were favorable to Braley.  After redistricting, the district included Linn County, a democrat strong hold.  It also included Poweshiek County, where Braley was born and raised.

Redistricting is often difficult for incumbents because it forces them to forge new relationships.  In Braley’s case, the new district added areas where he was already well-known and that suited his liberal politics.

Braley is now battle-tested and could seriously consider seeking higher office in future cycles.  Braley’s ability to run a statewide campaign is unknown, but he’s a liberal’s liberal and a trial lawyer to boot, which means national Democrats are sure to support him if or when he chooses to throw his hat into the ring for a statewide race in 2014 or 2016.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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