Governor Chet Culver has set September 1 as the date for the special election in Iowa House district 90, which includes Van Buren and parts of Wapello and Jefferson counties. The seat opened up when State Representative John Whitaker decided to take a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
If you live within striking distance of this district, please consider volunteering for Democratic candidate Curt Hanson. His campaign website is here, and he’s also on Twitter and Facebook. This will be a low-turnout election, so a strong volunteer effort will be essential.
According to Bleeding Heartland user im4klein, the GOP will announce its candidate in House district 90 today or tomorrow. Supposedly he is a farmer who has won elections in the past. Sounds like a county supervisor to me, but we’ll find out soon enough.
UPDATE: The Republican candidate for this special election is indeed a county supervisor–to be more precise, Jefferson County supervisor Stephen Burgmeier. Click the link to read his press release. The last time Burgmeier was on my radar screen, he and his fellow supervisors had passed a resolution on April 27, 2009, asking the Iowa legislature to stop same-sex marriages. Burgmeier’s timing was either brilliant (because April 27 was the first day for legal same-sex marriages in Iowa) or stupid (because the legislature had just adjourned for the year on April 26). I expect him to make gay marriage a major issue in this special election campaign.
SECOND UPDATE: According to The Iowa Republican’s Al Swearengen,
Ed Failor Jr. and Iowans for Tax Relief are running the entire campaign effort in the [House district 90] special election…
Word is that Failor has committeed big dollars to the race and already has his ITR staff embedded in the district and running the race… […]
Anybody that questions the power and influence of Failor and ITR need to look no further than this race…they are running this race…and are in charge of all [Iowa] House and Senate elections…
Meanwhile, the Des Moines Register reports,
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating a case that involves a state audit that indicates a representative shortchanged an Iowa school $37,000, a state spokesman confirmed today.
No charges have been filed against Rep. Kerry Burt, D-Waterloo, but if the accusations prove to be accurate, they ultimately could lead to his removal from office, according to Iowa law.
House Speaker Pat Murphy told the Register, “I think [Burt] has a very good record, and I stand behind him at this point, and I’m 100 percent with him.” I hope Murphy has a plan B in case the criminal investigation confirms the allegations in the state auditor’s report. Burt’s seat wasn’t going to be an easy hold even before this scandal, because of his arrest in February on a drunk driving charge, which has not yet gone to trial.