June 7, 2006

It's Braley vs Whalen in Iowa's 1st, Culver vs Nussle for Iowa Gov.

The intensely watched race in Iowa's 1st congressional district will be between restauranteur Mike Whalen and attorney Bruce Braley. Expect major support from both national parties in this district, one of the few open congresional districts, as Dems hope they can flip it and Republicans try to hold on to the seat.
Iowa Machine Shed owner Mike Whalen claimed the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District.
“When we found out we won Dubuque we felt pretty good,” Whalen said late tonight. “It was our hope to be competitive.”

Whalen, 52, of Bettendorf, had more than 52 percent of the votes cast with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Bill Dix, 43, a state legislator and farmer, had 33 percent and Brian Kennedy, 42, a lawyer, former state party chairman and former lobbyist from Bettendorf, had about 15 percent of the vote.

Whalen and Dix were neck and neck until about 11 p.m. when Scott County put Whalen over the edge. More than 68 percent of Scott County’s 8,448 voters chose Whalen, compared to about 18 percent for Dix and 14 percent for Kennedy.

Whalen said he would continue to talk about immigration reform and how to create more and better jobs for Americans leading up to the November election.


Waterloo lawyer Bruce Braley eked out a win in the four-way Democratic primary race in eastern Iowa, while Republican Mike Whalen of Bettendorf had an easier time defeating two opponents.

Braley and Rick Dickinson of Sabula traded the lead through the night as returns came in. Braley won by just 860 votes, with 37 percent compared to 34 percent for Dickinson. A third candidate, Bill Gluba, won in his home county of Scott County and finished with 26 percent of the vote and Denny Heath of Clinton finished with 4 percent.

Said Keith Breitbach, an aide to Dickinson: “I’ve got no fingernails left.”


Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver claimed the 2006 Democratic nomination for governor late Tuesday, turning back a late challenge by former state economic development director Mike Blouin and outpacing state Rep. Ed Fallon.

Culver’s narrow victory marks a turn by the state’s party activists away from Gov. Tom Vilsack, the two-term Democrat who is not seeking re-election this year and for whom Blouin worked as chief economic officer.

Culver will face U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, an eight-term Republican congressman from Manchester in the fall general election.

The match-up pits the self-styled “progressive Democrat” and heir to a party icon against a member of the Republican congressional leadership. National analysts have identified Iowa as one of the best chances in the country for the GOP to pick up a governor’s seat this year.

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