Today the Iowa House Republican caucus elected Kraig Paulsen to be incoming House speaker and Linda Upmeyer to be majority leader. The vote was no surprise, since Paulsen and Upmeyer were the top House Republicans during the previous two sessions. It’s still a historic achievement for Upmeyer; no other woman has ever served as Iowa House majority leader. James Q. Lynch wrote a nice profile of Upmeyer here. I didn’t know her late father was Del Stromer, who served in the Iowa House for 23 years, rising to the position of speaker. Upmeyer will be the “gatekeeper” who decides which bills come to a floor vote in the House.
The rest of the House GOP leadership team includes Jeff Kaufmann as speaker pro tem, Erik Helland as majority whip, and four majority assistant leaders: Matt Windschitl, Renee Schulte, Dave Deyoe and Steve Lukan. There was some speculation last year that Helland’s drunk driving arrest might cost him his leadership spot in the GOP caucus.
Republicans are likely to hold a 60-40 majority in the House next year, unless recounts change the outcome of one or more close races this week.
UPDATE: Iowa Senate Republicans re-elected Paul McKinley as their leader Monday. The Senate Republican whip will be Steve Kettering, and there will be five assistant minority leaders: Merlin Bartz, Brad Zaun, Pat Ward, David Johnson and Tim Kapucian. Johnson and Bartz have been the most visible Senate Republicans in the battle to overturn marriage equality in Iowa.
Republicans are likely to hold 24 of the 50 seats in the upper chamber, unless a recount overturns Mark Chelgren’s 13-vote lead over Democrat Keith Kreiman in district 47.