We have a new candidate in House district 1

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.

Mullin announced on Twitter today, “Last Friday I filed papers to run for Iowa State Representative from House District 1.” His campaign website is here.

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.)

That election went to a recount, and Whitead won by just 55 votes. Generally poor Democratic turnout in western Iowa was probably a factor in that race.

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.

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  • You've got to be kidding!

    Mullin has a trail of sleazy politics behind him a mile long.  This is going to be great fun!

  • Good news

    Rick is a fantastic guy and very committed to making western Iowa more friendly to progressive politics.  He dropped into the Woodbury County Democrats office to help out during the ’08 election as much as anyone and is very personable and bright.  I think he’d make a great rep for the district and will put in the hard work necessary to pull off a win.

  • Bravo, Rep. Whitead!

    I wish there were more elder politicians (of both parties) who had the good sense to bow out gracefully instead of waiting to either get voted out or keel over.

    Thank you for your service, Rep. Whitead and enjoy your retirement!