Previewing the Iowa Senate district 35 special election (updated)

Last week Larry Noble resigned from the Iowa Senate, effective December 17, because Governor-elect Terry Branstad selected him to be commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety in the next administration. After the jump I’ve posted Noble’s official biography from his campaign website. He is well qualified to lead the Department of Public Safety and will have no trouble winning confirmation from his former Iowa Senate colleagues.

Noble’s resignation leaves Republicans with 22 seats in the Iowa Senate. Democrats are assured of a slim majority in the chamber with 26 seats. A January 4 special election in Senate district 48 will determine the successor to Kim Reynolds, who resigned to become lieutenant governor. Sometime this week, Governor Chet Culver will set a date for the special election to replace Noble. The election will take place within 45 days of Culver’s announcement, probably in late January.

Senate district 35 covers most of the northern half of Polk County (map). It includes the Des Moines suburbs of Ankeny and Johnston, as well as Grimes, Polk City, Alleman, Elkhart and rural areas north of I-80. The area has experienced rapid population growth in the past decade and leans strongly Republican. The seat was last vacant in 2006, when Jeff Lamberti stepped down to run for Congress. Iowa Democrats recruited Ankeny Mayor Merle Johnson and invested heavily in the race, but Noble won by 52 percent to 48 percent in a Democratic wave year. Democrats did not nominate a candidate against Noble when he came up for re-election in 2010. As of December 1, Senate district 35 had 23,450 registered Republicans, 18,065 registered Democrats and 19,017 no-party voters.

So far no one has announced plans to run in Senate district 35. Democrats and Republicans will hold special district nominating conventions to select candidates.

UPDATE: In the comments, Bleeding Heartland user nick29 posted a press release from Jim Gocke, who will seek the Republican nomination for this Senate seat. Gocke is a law partner of Jeff Lamberti.

DECEMBER 23 UPDATE: Culver set the election for January 18.

Senator Larry L. Noble is an Ankeny area resident and has been a property owner here since 1976, since his assignment as a Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. The intervening years of his law enforcement career has taken him to assignments in the state but the Ankeny area has always been his home.

Larry grew up and went to high school in Grandview, Missouri. While attending college at Central Missouri State University, he became a Police Officer for the City of Warrensburg, and served with that department until graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration.

Upon graduation in June 1973, Larry was appointed as a Special Agent with the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation. In that capacity he worked in the area of vice enforcement, general criminal investigation, and welfare fraud.

Among other responsibilities delegated to Special Agent Noble, he was a Physical Fitness Instructor at a Department of Public Safety basic academy for new recruits. In 1979, he transferred to the Iowa State Patrol as a Trooper and was assigned to the Governor’s Security Detail for both Governor Ray and Governor Branstad until becoming an Assistant District Commander for the Iowa State Patrol, Des Moines District, in 1982.

Promoted to Lieutenant in 1986, Larry became the District Commander of the Oelwein district of the Iowa State Patrol. In 1988, he was promoted to Captain and returned to Ankeny as the Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of Public Safety. Upon the departure of the Commissioner from the department, Larry was appointed Acting Commissioner by the Governor and was responsible for the operation of the entire department until a new Commissioner took office. Promoted to the rank of Major in 1994, he accepted the position of Administrative Operations Officer for the Iowa State Patrol, where he was responsible for the management of the patrol’s multi million dollar budget. During this time, the fiscal allocation authorized by the state legislature was never exceeded. Larry retired in February, 2001. After retiring, Larry assisted in a family business and was a consultant in transportation and security issues.

Larry is married to his wife Jane and they have four grown children. Brett is a graduate of ISU, is married to Brooke. They have a son Jacoby and live in Ankeny. Katie is a graduate of Simpson and lives in Ankeny. Shelby is a graduate of Texas A&M and lives in Dallas. Zach is a graduate of Drake University and lives in Chicago.

Larry was a member of an advisory board for the criminal justice program at Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa campus), and was an invited presenter at the Des Moines Area Community College (Ankeny campus).

Larry was a certified instructor in Law Enforcement Ethics & Professionalism. He was also a member of the Iowa State Police Association and the Iowa State Patrol Supervisors Association, and a former member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is listed in Steven’s Who’s Who in Government Services, West’s Who’s Who in Government Services, West’s Who’s Who in U.S. Executives, West’s Who’s Who in Law Enforcement, and International Who’s Who in Professionals.

Larry is a 26 year member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Ankeny where he has served as Chair of the Congregation. He was also a volunteer in the Ankeny baseball and football little leagues.

  • Republican running

    Rumor has it that Ankeny lawyer and law partner of Jeff Lamberti, Jim Gocke, has decided he will run for the senate seat.  It was also rumored that their other law partner and Ankeny City Council member Craig Block had considered running as well.  I’d be surprised if Jim doesn’t throw his hat in the ring.

  • Update

    My sources tell me that Craig Block is in fact still considering a run even though Jim Gocke is definitely in.  In fact, I here Jim is already looking for people who want to place yard signs for him.

  • Press Release

    I obtained this press release today.

    News Release

    Senate District 35

    December 21, 2010

    Contact: Jim Gocke     515-964-8777 or 515-240-5255

    For Immediate Release

    Gocke to seek Senate Seat

    Ankeny Attorney and Rural Bondurant resident, James M. (Jim) Gocke, (Go-Key) today announced that he will seek the Republican Party nomination for Senate District 35.  Larry Noble resigned from the Senate last Friday after being introduced as the Commissioner of Public Safety by Governor elect Branstad.

    Gocke is known for questioning spending and taxing.  Gocke has publically gone on record on positions and statements relating to taxation with the Cities, Schools, the County and the Polk County Aviation Authority, “I believe in spending money wisely, getting the most return on spending and taking care of core services first and then look to quality of life expenditures”.  “I will bring to the Senate a diverse back-ground of agriculture, business, education, legal experience and plain, old common sense”.

    Gocke states that the process to select the candidate will produce the best candidate to represent the Republican Party.  “The intense activity required to approach this at this time of year is daunting but I have the support of my family, my co-workers and my friends.”  “I have reached out to friends and other Republicans who have all encouraged me to seek the nomination”.

    I am committed to this, I will commit to serve this district to the best of my ability if nominated and elected”.

    Gocke is a shareholder in the law firm of Block, Lamberti, Gocke and Ahlman, P.C. in Ankeny.  Jim and his wife Kathy have lived in rural Bondurant for 21 years.  They have 3 grown children, Jennifer Zahradnik, Belle Plaine, IA, Attorney, 1st LT. Michael Gocke, USMC, 29 Palms, CA and Victoria Gocke, a Navy veteran, Bondurant, IA.

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