Prospects for increasing diversity in the Iowa legislature

Forty men and ten women currently serve in the Iowa Senate. No senators are African-American, Latino, or Asian-American.

Seventy-five men and 25 women currently serve in the Iowa House. Five state representatives are African-American and none are Latino or Asian-American.

Time for a look at how those numbers might change after the November election, now that primaries have determined the major-party nominees in all state legislative districts. Click here for the June 3 unofficial election results and here for the full list of candidates who filed to run in the primaries.

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Jason Schultz ready to move up to Iowa Senate district 9

The path appears clear for passionately conservative State Representative Jason Schultz to move up to Iowa Senate district 9 in next year’s election. Longtime State Senator Nancy Boettger announced Friday that she will retire. Although she’s one of the longest-serving Iowa Senate Republicans, she’s never played a particularly important role. The last three Senate minority leaders haven’t tapped Boettger for their leadership teams.

Boettger’s retirement creates a career advancement opportunity in the strongly Republican Senate district 9. The two obvious potential candidates are State Representatives Matt Windschitl and Jason Schultz, who represent both halves of the district in the Iowa House. Within hours, Schultz announced his Senate candidacy. Windschitl told The Iowa Republican blog over the weekend that he will stay in the Iowa House. Windschitl is one of the GOP’s rising stars and serves as an assistant House majority leader, but he’s drawn criticism from some “pro-life” activists as not strong enough on their issue. In contrast, Schultz co-sponsored the most extreme version of “personhood” legislation and has fought to get a personhood vote on the Iowa House floor when Windschitl and others blocked a vote on that legislation. (Windschitl introduced a different “personhood” bill this year.)

After the jump I’ve posted a map of Senate district 9 and the latest voter registration numbers for the district, along with Schultz’s official bio. It’s also worth noting that Schultz chairs the Iowa House Local Government Committee and previously chaired the Appropriations subcommittee on economic development. He endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2012. In my opinion, he’s a contender for most clueless Iowa legislator. His passionate opposition to marriage equality prompted him to introduce one of the dumbest bills I’ve heard of, which would have banned Iowa judges from citing case law or precedent in their rulings. Schultz also joined a small group of legislators who threatened to yank state funding for the Des Moines Area Community College over the Governors LGBTQ Youth Conference.

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