Gas tax fallout: Eric Durbin challenging Clel Baudler in Iowa House district 20

Many Iowa GOP activists are upset that dozens of House and Senate Republicans voted to increase the gasoline tax this week. WHO drive-time radio host Simon Conway has been bashing some legislators who voted for the gas tax hike. He’s also urging listeners to “ditch the GOP” by changing their party registration.

Such symbolic acts mean little to compared to what Eric Durbin did yesterday. Appearing on Conway’s Thursday afternoon broadcast, he announced that he will challenge nine-term incumbent GOP State Representative Clel Baudler in Iowa House district 20. Durbin narrowly lost the GOP primary in House district 26 last year, but he recently moved his family from Indianola to a farm in Baudler’s district. His campaign is on Facebook here; at this writing, the website still lists House district 26, which covers most of Warren County. I assume that will be changed soon. Durbin’s core issues hit many of the top priorities for conservatives.

House district 20 covers Guthrie and Adair counties, plus parts of Dallas and Cass counties. A detailed map is after the jump. According to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, House district 20 contains 4,629 active registered Democrats, 6,471 Republicans, and 7,490 no-party voters. Although Mitt Romney just barely carried this district in the 2012 presidential election, Baudler was re-elected by more than a 2,000 vote margin that year and last November. For those reasons, Baudler is probably at more risk from a primary challenger than from a Democrat in the next general election.

Among the longest-serving Iowa House Republicans, Baudler was first been elected in 1998. He has chaired the House Public Safety Committee since 2011. Although he’s a longtime member of the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, Baudler drew the ire of some Iowa gun rights activists by not advancing a gun bill during the 2012 legislative session. Nevertheless, he didn’t face a primary challenger either that year or in 2014. The Iowa Gun Owners group will likely get behind Durbin’s primary challenge. I wonder whether anti-tax groups like Iowans for Tax Relief and Americans for Prosperity will do much to punish the incumbents who went against them on the gas tax issue.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

Iowa House district 20 photo IowaHD20_zps7ookeqem.jpg

  • Nah

    Much ado about nothing.  Clel will decide when it’s time to go. No one else. Especially not some carpetbagger from outside the District.  

    • history says

      you’re right. The success rate of primary challengers to Iowa legislators is low. Then again, I never expected Erik Helland to lose in 2012. You just never know. If Americans for Prosperity decide to make an example of some people, they might pour money into some of these challengers.

      • Carpetbagger

        As for being a carpetbagger… I am not originally from Warren County. I ran a very effective campaign there knowing almost no one. Having grown up 11 miles from the border of this district, and my Grandmother having lived in it, I have spent much more of my time on this planet in Guthrie County than I ever have in Warren County. Should he seek re-election I will do everything in my power to remove him from office. If I do not succeed, at the very least I will make him work for re-election and make it very costly.

  • Appears to have chip on his shoulder.


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