Charles Holz won a special nominating convention last night in Iowa House district 5, where former House Appropriations Committee Chair Chuck Soderberg resigned his seat last month. Two Republicans sought the nomination for the November 3 special election. Holz is retired after a long career as a large animal veterinarian in Le Mars; he has also published work in his field. Citing a press release from the Plymouth County GOP, the Sioux City Journal reported earlier this month that Holz "served on the Le Mars school board for 18 years, including two years as board president." UPDATE: Added below a Republican Party of Iowa statement containing more biographical information.
According to The Iowa Statesman blog, Holz "defeated rural Woodbury County small business owner and homeschool parent Brad Hopp on the first ballot" at the nominating convention.
To my knowledge, no Democrat has announced plans to run for House district 5, which covers all of Plymouth County and some rural areas of Woodbury County. Click here to view a district map. Ideally, Democrats would compete for every state legislative district, but House district 5 is one of the safest for Republicans. Mitt Romney carried 65.9 percent of the presidential vote here in 2012, and Joni Ernst won 71.2 percent of the 2014 votes for U.S. Senate. The district contains 3,819 active registered Democrats, 9,015 Republicans, and 6,697 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's Office.
Five-term State Representative Pat Grassley is set to replace Soderberg as chair of the Iowa House Appropriations Committee for the 2016 legislative session. Although that's a plum committee assignment, working out a deal with Iowa Senate Democrats on the state budget will likely be more difficult than usual next year, because of the fallout from Governor Terry Branstad's latest line-item vetoes. The key Republicans involved in this year's budget deal-making quit their jobs this summer.
Republican Party of Iowa press release, September 28
Holz Nominated in House District 5 Nominating Convention
(LE MARS) - Today Chuck Holz (R-Le Mars), a retired veterinarian, was elected as the Republican candidate for State Representative in House District 5.
Holz was a veterinarian in Le Mars for 38 years and served on the Le Mars school board for 18 years, including two years as board president.
Having been a small business owner and serving on the school board, Holz will bring a great deal of experience and a unique perspective to the Legislature. "I've had a lifelong passion for education and sound budgeting," said Holz. "I look forward to doing what I can to help northwest Iowa families be successful and reduce burdensome regulations on Iowa's employers."
Holz is a 37 year member of the Le Mars Rotary Club and an elder and trustee at Presbyterian United Church of Christ, where he has been a member for 39 years. He and his wife of 36 years, Patricia, have three sons.