Earlier this month, State Representative Dick Taylor announced his resignation, setting up a November 24 special election to represent Iowa House district 33 (Cedar Rapids). On Wednesday night, members of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee from precincts in the district selected Kirsten Running-Marquardt as the Democratic candidate. Lynda Waddington wrote up the proceedings for Iowa Independent.
While this is the first time Running-Marquardt has personally sought public office, she is hardly a stranger to Iowa politics. The daughter of former state Rep. Rich Running, she most recently worked in U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack’s office and previously worked for Iowa for Health Care, a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Yesterday the Republican Party’s special nominating convention selected Joshua Thurston as the GOP candidate for the special election. He is an Iraq War veteran and, unusual for a Republican office-seeker, is a member of Teamsters Local 238. Waddington reported this week that Thurston “switched from having no political party affiliation to being a member of the Republican Party of Iowa on Oct. 26.”
Holding House district 33 should be relatively easy for Democrats, compared to this summer’s hard-fought battle in Iowa House district 90. But House Speaker Pat Murphy isn’t taking anything for granted:
The Democratic strategy, according to Murphy, is no secret and will closely follow past practices that have met with success.
“We are going to go after this like we have the other election, and we are going to do a heavy absentee ballot campaign just like we did in Fairfield and in the general elections,” Murphy said, referencing the party’s most recent success in the House District 90 special election. “We are going to keep a heavy focus talking about the issues that we think are important to Iowans, which are creating jobs, balancing the state budget, focusing on what we can do to expand health care at the state level and move forward in those areas.”
UPDATE: Running-Marquardt plans to focus on flood recovery and prevention issues, such as “hiring Cedar Rapids workers to rebuild our community both stronger and safer while coordinating state level incentives for better watershed management upstream.”
LATE UPDATE: Lynda Waddington has more on Thurston and the GOP meeting where he was selected.