DES MOINES — Interest among Iowa voters – especially Democrats – was fairly tepid during this month’s primary election, but both parties expect that to change this fall as Iowa is considered a key swing state in the 2012 presidential race.
“There’s going to be a lot of campaigning going on over the next few months,” Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Monday. “I there we’re going to have a high turnout. The presidential campaigns are going to get ginned up here pretty quick.”
Schultz, a first-term Council Bluffs Republican who also serves as the state’s commissioner of elections, made his comments after the Iowa Executive Council certified results of the June 5 primary in which about 20.3 percent of the registered Republicans and nearly 8.7 percent of the registered Democrats chose to cast ballots for their respective parties’ nominees who will compete in November’s general election.
State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a member of the executive council that also serves as the state Board of Canvass, said the turnout numbers reflected the fact that the Republican Party had several competitive races for Congress and the Iowa Legislature in the first election to take place since district lines were redrawn to reflect population data from the 2010 Census.
“There’s really nothing to be drawn from this,” Fitzgerald said of the low Democratic vote. “Democrats are concentrating on identifying supporters and being ready for the November election.”
Monday’s canvass certified winners from both parties in Iowa’s four congressional districts after the new population totals indicated the number of U.S. House seats in Iowa shrunk from five to four. No candidates were nominated by voters in 17 Iowa House Republican districts and in 20 Iowa House Democrat and five Iowa Senate districts, so the two political parties have until Aug. 17 to fill those vacancies by convention or have no nominee appear on the general election ballot in November, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.
In all, 133,583 Republicans and 58,166 Democrats cast ballots in Iowa’s June 5 primary election. Overall, 191,749 Iowans voted out of 1,869,040 active registrants and 2,107,093 total registrants. The 9.1 percent turnout among all registered voters in Iowa was down from 2008 and 2000, but up from 2004.