Shocking news: Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is resigning from the state legislature to take an unspecified position in the Iowa Attorney General's Office. I've posted his announcement after the jump. McCarthy served as House Majority Leader when Democrats controlled the lower chamber from 2007 through 2010 and was elected minority leader soon after the 2010 elections. I thought he would stay in the legislature for the long haul. He original ran for the House in 2000 but relocated from Beaverdale to the south side after losing the Democratic primary to Janet Petersen.
His decision means a special election will come later this year in House district 33, covering parts of south and southeast Des Moines. It's a safe Democratic seat with nearly 5,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, so the special nominating convention will in effect decide McCarthy's replacement. UPDATE: Less than an hour after McCarthy's announcement, the Iowa House Democrats sent out a press release on Karl Schilling's candidacy for the House district 33 special election. I've posted that after the jump.
The 46 remaining House Democrats will also need to elect a new minority leader. The obvious candidates are the current assistant minority leaders: Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines, Mary Mascher of Iowa City, Mark Smith of Marshalltown, and Mary Gaskill of Ottumwa. My guess is that Smith will certainly seek the position. No idea who might challenge him. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Jo Oldson of Des Moines ran against McCarthy for minority leader in 2010.
UPDATE: Oldson's name was not placed into nomination in 2010.
The rumor mill says that State Representatives Mark Smith and Dave Jacoby are both sounding out colleagues about the leadership post.
August 1, 2013:
Statement from Leader McCarthy
After much consideration, I have decided to take advantage of a new opportunity with the Iowa Attorney General's Office that requires me to step down as Democratic Leader of the Iowa House of Representatives and also tender my resignation from elected office.
I am delivering a letter to the Governor today, as required by Iowa Code, notifying him that Thursday, August 15, 2013 will be my final day in office.
It has been a great honor to serve the citizens of my district these past eleven years. It has been an even greater honor to have been chosen by my caucus to serve as Majority Leader for four years and then Minority Leader for these past three years.
Our caucus, at present, is as united and strong as I have ever seen. If we were a ship at sea...we are currently sailing in smooth waters with the wind at our backs, well poised to become the majority party again next year.
Although I am now in as strong of a political position as I could be as a caucus leader...I feel the real desire to try something different and return to a more normal pace of life. This new opportunity, taking the lead on policy and legal issues I deeply believe in, is a chance to do just that.
I was elected Majority Leader seven years ago when I was thirty-four years old and my daughter was only four. In what seems like the blink of an eye, I am now forty-two and my daughter will be eleven years old in four short months...a teenager in the not so distant future.
I have realized there can be much more to life than spending most of one's time fundraising and riding the political roller coaster. I will deeply miss the people I serve and work with and the policy issues I have worked on. I will not miss the ever-constant political fundraising that dominates most of my time.
I give a heartfelt thanks to my family, staff, and caucus for their constant support and to the citizens of my district for the opportunity to serve them. I look forward to working with the new leader - whomever our caucus chooses - to have a very smooth transition as I pass the baton.
Schilling to Run for State Representative
Des Moines, Iowa-Karl Schilling of Des Moines announced today that he will run in the Special Election for Iowa House District 33, which includes the SE side of Des Moines.
"I've dedicated my life to helping those around me, whether through my advocacy for victims' and civil rights, labor issues or clean water. I want to be voice for those and other issues that affect the citizens of southeast Des Moines," said Schilling, a Democrat.
Schilling, now retired, spent over 25 years with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. He graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in English. Following two deployments to Vietnam, he completed both his M.A. in English at Iowa State and his MPA from Drake University. Schilling spent much of his career as an IUP member and steward.
"As a veteran, I know that support for our military families is vital. I want to help our returning veterans with this transition. I'm ready to work hard and listen to the concerns of the people in this district. I look forward to having conversations with folks," added Schilling.
Schilling is a 20 year member and President of the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance. He is also a member of the Easter Lake Restoration Board, the Polk County Democratic Central Committee and the 3rd Congressional District Democratic Central Committee.
Schilling and his wife, Margaret (Peg), a retired AFSCME member, have two children and three grandchildren. They attend St. John's Methodist Church and reside in the Easter Lake neighborhood.