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In a Changing World, Senate 30 Battle Could Tip Power Balance

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The political signs fill the curbs and medians up and down Hudson Road in Cedar Falls.

Many blaring out 'DANIELSON' on white or 'MATT' with a deep blue hue.

"For an urban district, it's a very diverse district," said Matt Reisetter, a Republican challenging for the Senate 30 seat held by two-term Democrat Jeff Danielson.

"It's very diverse," said Danielson. "They want their senator to do their homework, treat people decent and be a problem solver."

Danielson is one of the 26 Senate Democrats hanging on by the slimmest of margins for power over the 24 Republicans. Republicans are in place in the governor's office and hold a wider margin in the House.

Danielson and Reisetter have been locking political horns for months, trying to build up their support bases as well as engaging in negative ads against each other. This is an extremely competitive district, with registered Democrats and Republicans close to equal numbers and with an even larger amount of registered independents.

The district contains a real mix of urban and rural. Stretching from the west side of Waterloo, Senate 30 includes all of Cedar Falls and shifting south to Hudson.

With Democrats holding the 26-24 edge, this fall will feature 26 different Senate elections. Most of these races are contested. Yet, because of redistricting, many of the incumbents are now running in new districts.

Danielson, who served in the U.S. Navy and is a firefighter, was in the former "District 10", a race that he won by only 22 votes in 2008 to earn his second term.

"People aren't interested in this race because I'm a great guy or because Danielson is a great guy but because the balance of power goes through District 30," said Reisetter, who narrowly lost a House race in 2006 but has remained active in political circles. "We've got attention from all over the state and outside the state to a degree."

Both Danielson and Reisetter said on Thursday the months of hard work, knocking on doors and trying to engage voters for Election Day is what will, ultimately, play out on November 6th.

"You do your work, treat people decent, have a place and give them a choice," said Danielson in explaining how to approach a tight race in the final days before the election.

Yet another element will be in play for voters as they walk into their polling place. The presidential election, with Iowa and its six electoral votes coveted by both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, could mean a strong turnout in Senate 30 for either candidate could mean an easier path, down-ballot, for either Danielson or Reisetter.

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