Iowa geography an advantage for Braley in 2014 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa geography an advantage for Braley in 2014

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

According to analysts, geography will play a big role in the race for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin’s (D, Iowa) seat, which he will vacate in 2014.

KWWL Political Analyst Chris Larimer said that many of the most influential counties in the state are in Eastern Iowa. This will play to the advantage of current Representative Bruce Braley (D, Iowa), who has said he will run for the seat. Because of his redistricting during his time in the house, and his experience in the state, Braley has either previously or currently represented 23 counties in Iowa. That, combined with an advantage in the historically liberal Polk and Johnson counties, indicates a significant lead for Braley.

"Well the political geography favors Braley because he's represented the eastern part of the state in the first congressional district,” Larimer said. “And these -- his former counties and his current counties, tend to have a large percentage of the vote share that most likely will go to the winning candidate, so that why it's favors Braley in this case."

But Larimer also said that he based predictions on past voter turnout data, and 2008’s data could skew predications.

“The one caveat is that the 2008 election was a big year for democrats,” Larimer said. “So using the margins of victory from 2008 might inflate the metric to use for 2014, so Braley might not get the same margins that Harkin did in 2008."

Larimer also said that in the race, a win in Eastern Iowa is really a win for the whole state, because the counties east of Interstate 35 and north of I-80 have the most polling power.

As a result, candidates will focus heavily in the area, and Johnson County especially can expect frequent visits.

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