Rep. Dave Loebsack’s retirement instantly transforms a southeastern Iowa seat that has teased Republicans for a dozen years into a prime pickup opportunity for a party hoping to get back to the House majority, and it provides yet another reason to pay attention to the swing state.
Loebsack turned in one of the upsets of the cycle when he unseated Republican Jim Leach in 2006. Since then he survived a pair of GOP wave years in 2010 and 2014 and President Trump carrying his district by 4 points en route to a big statewide win in 2016.
He was the lone Democrat in the delegation for four years, from when Bruce Braley lost a 2014 bid to replace Tom Harkin in the Senate until a near Democratic sweep in November. But his exit comes at a time when the ebb and flow of Democratic prospects in the state lean toward the latter.
The Democratic presidential nominee could conceivably expend more effort on Iowa than Ohio, while national Democrats target Sen. Joni Ernst, seek to hold their three House seats, and try once again to take out Rep. Steve King in what is by far the most Republican-leaning of the four congressional districts.
-- Kyle Trygstad