Two-term Iowa House Republican Julian Garrett told WHO-TV's Dave Price yesterday that he plans to seek the GOP nomination for the special election in Iowa Senate district 13. The seat is vacant because of Kent Sorenson's resignation. A date for the nominating convention will be set sometime after Governor Terry Branstad announces the special election date.
I've posted Garrett's official bio after the jump. I knew he was a retired attorney but didn't realize that he is a former assistant Iowa attorney general for consumer protection. The current holder of that position, Nathan Blake, is seeking the Democratic nomination in Iowa Senate district 17.
I expect at least one other candidate to seek the Republican nomination in Senate district 13, where the GOP has a voter registration advantage. Garrett represents Madison County and parts of Warren County in the Iowa House already, but unlike Kent Sorenson, he's never been wildly popular among the GOP's tea party or "liberty" factions. Party central committee delegates from the precincts in the district will choose a nominee, and the Warren County Republican activists have not favored mainstream candidates lately. Warren County was one of the strongest performers for Bob Vander Plaats in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, and way out there Steve McCoy easily defeated Carlisle Mayor Ruth Randleman in the 2012 primary to represent House district 26. McCoy later lost the general election to Democrat Scott Ourth.
I wouldn't be surprised to see McCoy take a shot at Senate district 13. Another possible candidate is Warren County GOP Chair Ricky Halvorson. He was active in Sorenson's previous successful campaigns and made the Des Moines Register's "50 Most Wanted" list of Republican activists in 2011.
UPDATE: Added more comments from Garrett below. I agree with him that this seat is a must-hold for Republicans if they want to win a Senate majority in 2014.
Official bio of Julian Garrett from the Iowa House Republicans:
Julian Garrett is a retired attorney and a farmer in the southern part of Warren Country where he lives with his wife, Nancy. They have three sons. The two older boys, Ryan and Jeff, have graduated with engineering degrees from Iowa State, the youngest, Jonathon, is a junior in engineering at Iowa State.
Julian was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in the election in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. He serves on the Appropriations, Education, Judiciary and Human Services Committees. He also is the Vice Chair of the Justice System Appropriation Subcommittee.
He grew up on a farm where he learned about hard work and personal responsibility. He has raised purebred Charolais cattle for many years. He is a long-time Farm Bureau member and a member of the Lutheran Church.
Julian is a graduate of Central College in Pella, and the University of Iowa Law School. He is a lifelong Republican and has been a member of the Warren County Republican Central Committee for more than 35 years. He served as Ronald Reagan's Chairman in the old 5th Congressional District twice.
Julian was a volunteer Little League and soccer coach for more than 12 years. He served on the Indianola Little League Board of Directors for many years, and directed the County Little League post-season tournament for Warren and surrounding counties for several years. In addition, he coached Middle School Mock Trial teams, two of which reached the State Tournament.
He served 12 years as Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Consumer Protection, when that office was first established. He worked with the legislature promoting legislation to fight fraud.
UPDATE: Garrett's comments on plans to seek GOP nomination in Senate district 13:
"I enjoy serving in the House of Representatives but I have been frustrated to see so many good bills that we passed in the House just die in the Senate" Said Garrett. He added "I believe that if we are to have a good chance to take control of the Senate in 2014, we must hold onto this Senate seat. I believe I can win the seat. I also believe that we can elect a Republican to take my place in House District 25." Garrett stressed that he will continue to push for the issues that he has campaigned on in the past. "People know me as a fiscal and social conservative and I will continue to stress the issues that I have been working on in the House."