Republican Greg Grupp announces in Iowa House district 14

Republicans have recruited a strong candidate for the open Iowa House district 14, which covers most of Sioux City’s west side, part of the north side and some of the downtown neighborhood.

Here’s a close-up view of the new district:

Iowa House district 14, The new Iowa House district 14, created under the redistricting plan adopted in 2011.

First-term Republican State Representative Jeremy Taylor represents most of this area now, having won an open-seat race for the old House district 1 in 2010. Iowa’s new map of political boundaries put Taylor’s house just over the line into the new House district 13, which covers much of central and eastern Sioux City, as well as rural eastern Woodbury County. Taylor opted to stay there and run for re-election against first-term Iowa House Democrat Chris Hall. Both parties are likely to target that race.

Taylor’s decision left the new House district 14 open. On paper, the district leans Democratic, with 6,842 registered Democrats, 4,562 Republicans and 5,985 no-party voters as of February 2012 (pdf). But the Sioux City area has never been a strong base for Barack Obama. In 2008, even as Obama carried Iowa by a comfortable margin, Taylor almost defeated then-Democratic Iowa House incumbent Wes Whitead. As of November 2008, the old House district 1 had 2,200 more registered Democrats than Republicans (pdf). After Whitead retired in 2010, Taylor defeated Democratic opponent David Dawson by about 600 votes (pdf) despite a Democratic voter registration advantage of about 2,000 in the old House district 1 (pdf).

Dawson announced his candidacy in the new House district 14 just before Thanksgiving. A former Woodbury County prosecutor, Dawson runs a private law practice in Sioux City. He knocked thousands of doors for his 2010 campaign and is likely to work just as hard this year.

The Sioux City rumor mill has been expecting a bid by Republican bank president Greg Grupp. Yesterday he made his intentions official. Bret Hayworth reported for the Sioux City Journal,

Republican Greg Grupp said he plans to retire as president of US Bank in Sioux City in a few days to campaign for the position.

“A strong workforce is essential to our economy, however, we must also have people who are willing to take risks and start businesses that create more good jobs and I will bring that experience and perspective to Des Moines, as well,” Grupp said in a press release. […]

Grupp previously served a term on the Sioux City school board and was chairman of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.

An experienced candidate with business connections and plenty of time to campaign is just what the doctor ordered for Woodbury County Republicans. Dawson and the Woodbury County Democrats have their work cut out for them here and in Iowa House district 13. I doubt they’ll get much help on the GOTV front from Obama’s re-election campaign.

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  • why

    are you doubting Dem GOTV efforts here? This is one of the better D seats in western Iowa and Woodbury is going to be key to the Christie Vilsack race. And since it’s historically one of the lowest turnout parts of the state the Dems know they need to work harder for it.

    I’m still not sure why one of the incumbents didn’t move and run here. Taylor-Hall is set to be the only two incumbent House general election in the state. For Taylor it’s My District Just Not My House, for Hall it has the better D margin.

    Grupp looks like a good candidate. So does Dawson; an open seat loss in an awful year isn’t that bad of a black eye.

    • I could make the case

      that Taylor should have moved into this district, but I can see why he decided to take on Hall instead.

      Didn’t mean to imply that Dawson isn’t a good candidate, just saying that Democrats almost lost a district very much like this in 2008 and did lose a district very much like this in 2010, despite a tremendous early GOTV effort. Dawson worked hard to help Dems get a huge absentee ballot request advantage in HD 1. It wasn’t enough.

      2012 is supposed to be a better year for Democratic turnout than 2010, but I will believe it when I see it in NW Iowa.