Bret Hayworth of the Sioux City Journal reports today that State Representative Wes Whitead of Sioux City will not run for re-election next year.
Whitead said six terms is enough – he’ll be 77 when this term ends and wants to do more with his grandchildren before they grow up. Whitead said he’d considered retiring from politics, discussed it with House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque, and decided to step aside when learning Rick Mullin of Sioux City would fill the bill from the Democratic Party side.
Hayworth adds that Mullin is president of an awning and siding business, serves on the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee, and is a past chairman of the Woodbury County Democrats.
Demographics favor Democrats in Sioux City, but Republicans will probably invest in this district now that it’s an open seat. As a rule, it’s easier to hold a legislative district with an incumbent on the ballot, but in this case, we may be better off with a new candidate. Whitead nearly lost House district 1 last year, despite the fact that Republicans weren’t targeting his seat. (CORRECTION: I am told that Republicans did fund radio and television ads in this district shortly before the November election, and that the right-wing 501(c)4 group Iowa Progress Project also spent money against Whitead.)
Anyone who’s familiar with Woodbury County politics is particularly encouraged to weigh in on this thread. How competitive will House district 1 be next year? Who are the potential candidates on the Republican side?
LATE UPDATE: Hayworth reported that Republican Jeremy Taylor, who almost defeated Whitead, plans to run for this seat again in 2010.