Republican State Representative Quentin Stanerson will not seek a third term in Iowa House district 95, he announced on Facebook today (hat tip to Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters). Rumors of Stanerson’s plans to retire have circulated for some time. The high school teacher was reportedly unhappy with Iowa House leaders’ hard line on education spending and was one of only two House Republicans to support Democratic efforts to override Governor Terry Branstad’s education funding vetoes this summer.
House district 95 covers a large area in Linn County outside the Cedar Rapids metro, as well as some rural precincts in Buchanan County. I enclose below a district map and the press release announcing Stanerson’s decision.
This seat should be a top target for Democrats, who currently hold only 43 of the 100 Iowa House seats. As of December 2015, House district 95 contained 5,906 active registered Democrats, 6,082 Republicans, and 8,300 no-party voters according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. The last time this district was open, Stanerson defeated Kristin Keast by just 200 votes in the sixth-closest result of the 2012 Iowa House races. Stanerson won a second term by a more comfortable margin in his rematch with Keast, thanks to the smaller midterm electorate and the Republican wave year. I am not aware of any declared Democratic candidate here for next year’s election.
Voters in House district 95 favored Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by 52.01 percent to 46.69 percent in 2012, very close to Obama’s statewide margin of victory. Joni Ernst outpolled Bruce Braley in last year’s U.S. Senate election by 52.47 percent to 43.73 percent in the House district 95 precincts.