Two-term State Representative McKinley Bailey, an Iraq War veteran, may face a tough Republican challenger next year in Iowa House district 9. The Des Moines Register reports that Stew Iverson, former Iowa Senate majority leader and Iowa GOP chairman, is thinking about running against Bailey. Iverson told the Register that he’ll make a decision “sometime after the first of the year”:
Iverson called Bailey “a nice young man.”
“It’s not personal,” he said. “I just think we need a change in direction, and that’s why I’m considering it. I have nothing against him, but this is about the state of Iowa.”
Bailey defeated Republican incumbent George Eichhorn with nearly 55 percent of the vote in 2006. He was re-elected with just over 55 percent of the vote in 2008, even though his district was one of Iowa Republicans’ top targets. Corporate-funded conservative interest groups ran ads against Bailey and other first-term House Democrats in early 2008 as well as shortly before the November election.
House district 9 includes all of Wright County, parts of Webster and Hamilton counties, and a tiny slice of Franklin County. Bailey lives in Webster City, which has suffered a tremendous blow during this recession. Appliance maker Electrolux plans to shut down a Webster City factory employing about 850 people. Bailey is one of the “six-pack” of House Democrats who blocked key legislative priorities for organized labor during the 2009 session, but as far as I know, no Democrat has been recruited to challenge him in the district 9 primary. (If you know otherwise, please drop me a line: desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com.)
It’s notable that Iverson is considering the House race against Bailey, as opposed to trying to win back his old senate seat. After Iverson decided not to seek re-election in 2006, Democrat Rich Olive defeated James Kurtenbach in Senate district 5 by only 62 votes. I assume that Iverson is considering the House race because he knows Republicans have virtually no chance of winning back the Senate next year. He may also have little desire to work with some of the senators who voted him out as majority leader in the middle of the 2006 session.
Krusty Konservative isn’t thrilled with the prospect of an Iverson comeback, for what that’s worth.
Any comments about this race or other state legislative contests are welcome in this thread.