Area Iowa Senate Contest is ‘Top Race to Watch’


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – An open seat race in a “classic swing district” that may hold the key to control of the Iowa Senate is getting some end-of-the campaign attention.

GOPAC-Iowa, a Republican political action group will announce Thursday the Senate 48 race in Linn, Delaware and Jones counties is one of its “races to watch.” That designation will be accompanied by an endorsement and financial backing, according GOPAC-Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn.

“By anyone’s estimation, there are just a handful of toss-up seats that will determine control of the Senate,” he said.

Republican Dan Zumbach and Rep. Nate Willems, D-Lisbon, are vying for the seat in Senate 48, a district created by redistricting. It stretches from Palo in western Linn County to Colesburg in northeast Delaware County, from Rowley in Buchanan County to Anamosa in Jones County.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Republicans have a slight voter registrations edge – 30 percent to 28 percent for Democrats and 42 percent “no party.”

“It’s the type of district that will determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the Senate,” Strawn said Oct. 24. Democrats have had a 26-24 majority for the past two years.

he same could be said about every race this fall, said Michael Hunt of the Iowa Democratic Party.

“Each of the incumbents and challengers is the race that will determine control of the Senate,” Hunt said. “That’s the nature of a one-seat majority election.”

The party and Democratic candidates will be focused on talking to Iowans “about the priorities they hope to champion” for the next 13 days, Hunt aid.

Zumbach, 51, is a rural Ryan grain farmer who also hauls grain and sells farm equipment.

Willems, 33, is an associate at the Cedar Rapids law firm Rush & Nicholson where he practices labor and employment law.

GOPAC also identified the Senate 28 race in Winneshiek, Clayton, Fayette and Allamakee counties as one to watch. There, Republican Michael Breitbach faces Democrat John Beard, who was defeated for re-election the Iowa House two years ago.