Five-term State Representative Linda Miller will not seek re-election in 2016, Ed Tibbetts reported for the Quad-City Times on October 1. Since Republicans regained an Iowa House majority in 2010, Miller has chaired the Human Resources Committee. She told Tibbetts she wants to retire in order to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Miller represents Iowa House district 94, covering part of the Quad Cities area in Scott County. I’ve enclosed a district map after the jump. The seat leans strongly to the GOP, with 5,520 active registered Democrats, 8,403 Republicans, and 9,608 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Mitt Romney won nearly 54 percent of the vote in the district in 2012, and Joni Ernst won nearly 58 percent here in last year’s U.S. Senate race. So while Democrats should always contest an open state legislative district, Republicans will be favored to hold Miller’s seat.
The GOP primary to replace Miller bears watching. Tibbetts reported that Bettendorf alderman Gary Mohr will run for this seat, but I doubt he will get a free pass. Scott County Republicans don’t shy away from competitive primaries. Miller knocked off State Representative Joe Hutter here in the 2006 GOP primary, the same year Dave Hartsuch beat sitting State Senator Maggie Tinsman in the Iowa Senate district that covers this area. Hartsuch served a term but lost the 2010 GOP primary to Roby Smith.
I give Miller credit for announcing her plans so early. One of my pet peeves–too common in Iowa on both sides of the aisle–is when entrenched state legislative incumbents keep their retirement plans secret until a day or two before the March filing deadline. In that scenario, only a hand-picked successor or tipped-off party insider has time to reflect on a possible candidacy. Other politically active, talented people in the district might be able to scramble for 50 signatures in a day to submit the necessary paperwork, but they would lack the ability to talk over such a big decision with friends and family.