Former State Senator Swati Dandekar has resigned from the Iowa Utilities Board, effective July 22. Her resignation letter (pdf) does not give any specific reason for the decision but thanks Governor Terry Branstad for the opportunity to serve. The governor accepted Dandekar’s resignation and will search for her replacement. Branstad appointed Dandekar to the three-member Iowa Utilities Board in September 2011, forcing a special election in her swing Senate district (suburban Linn County). Democrat Liz Mathis won that election and was re-elected to a four-year term in 2012.
Dandekar’s term on the utilities board was to run through April 2015. I assume she would not leave that position unless she has decided to run for Congress in the open first district. I am surprised that she seems ready to follow through, because there have been few public signs of life from her exploratory committee since it was created two months ago. For example, there have been no postings on Facebook or twitter since May 9, nor am I aware of any press releases. In my opinion, the Democratic primary will be an uphill battle for Dandekar.
Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O’Brien has events scheduled for July 10 in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo. Assuming he and Dandekar both announce candidacies in IA-01, that makes five Democrats seeking to replace Bruce Braley: three from Linn County (Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon, Dandekar, and O’Brien), State Representative Pat Murphy of Dubuque, and State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic of Waterloo (in the exploratory committee phase for now). I believe at least one or two of those candidates will end up not filing for the ballot next March.