Six days after Iowa House Ways and Means Chair Tom Sands announced plans to retire instead of seeking another term, the first Democratic candidate has stepped up to run in Iowa House district 88. I enclose below the full campaign announcement for Ryan Drew, along with a district map.
Other candidates may emerge before the special nominating convention, to be held sometime before the mid-August filing deadline for general election candidates. When State Representative Brian Quirk retired soon after being re-elected in 2012, the first Democrat to declare in that district ended up losing the nomination to Todd Prichard.
Democrats did not field a candidate in House district 88 in 2014, and no one filed to run against Sands this year, but an open seat should be in play, especially if a Donald Trump meltdown materializes. The district contains 5,566 active registered Democrats, 6,397 Republicans, and 6,775 no-party voters, according to the most recent figures available. In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama gained 50.9 percent of the vote in House district 88 to 47.9 percent for Mitt Romney.
To my knowledge, Jason Delzell is the only Republican actively seeking the nomination in House district 88. He appears to have the blessing of the GOP establishment, though others may compete for the GOP nomination, which will also be decided at a special district convention.
UPDATE: Pat Rynard briefly profiled Drew in a post on Democratic activists last year, calling him “a go-to workhorse who gets things done” and has been volunteering for local campaigns since 2005.
Iowa House Democrats press release, June 15:
Drew to Seek Democratic Nomination for State Representative in Des Moines, Louisa, and Muscatine Counties
West Burlington, Iowa – Ryan Drew of Burlington announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for state representative in District 88, which includes Louisa County and parts of Muscatine and Des Moines Counties. The district has no incumbent running after Rep. Tom Sands withdrew his name from the ballot last week.
“I’m running for the Iowa House because working families need a strong voice at the State Capitol,” said Drew, who was born and raised in Burlington. “Too many families in Southeast Iowa are working hard but are still unable to keep up with the rising costs of child care, utilities, food, and health care. I’ll work to bring jobs with good wages to Southeast Iowa and make public education our top priority again.”
Drew is the business representative for Operating Engineers Local 150 in Burlington and currently serves as President of the Southeast Iowa Building Trades, President of the Des Moines/Henry County Labor Council, and Regional Vice President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council. He has been involved with the negotiations and administering of skilled labor on several large local projects including Phase I & II of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe bridge replacement project, the Ft. Madison Iowa State Penitentiary, and the Iowa Fertilizer Plant project.
Drew has served on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and has been active in local STEM initiatives as well. He has been involved in the Burlington Habitat for Humanity chapter and worked with other building trades volunteers to help with construction of the Mississippi Valley Veteran’s Memorial in West Burlington.
“After completing a successful apprenticeship program myself, I know every kid in Iowa needs training after high school to land a job with decent wages to raise a family. I’ll work to make sure job training and higher education is affordable for every Iowan who is willing to work hard,” added Drew.
Ryan and his wife, Amy, have three children Madison, Jackson, and Isabella. His wife is a literacy coach in the Burlington Community School District. They attend Saints Mary & Patrick Catholic Church in West Burlington.
Local democrats in the district will hold a special nominating convention later this summer.
House district 88 includes most of Des Moines County outside the cities of Burlington and West Burlington, all of Louisa County, and a large area in Muscatine County, not including the city of Muscatine.