# Senate District 27



Democrats have candidates in all Sioux City races

Kudos to the Woodbury County Democrats for recruiting strong candidates for all three open Iowa House districts as well as both Iowa Senate districts representing parts of Sioux City. Two of those races became open very recently, when Democratic State Representative Roger Wendt announced his retirement from House district 2 because of a cancer recurrence and Republican State Senator Ron Wieck said he won’t run for re-election from Senate district 27.

Two new candidates announced their intentions at the Woodbury County Democratic Convention over the weekend. In House district 2, covering much of the east side of Sioux City, our candidate is Chris Hall. Bret Hayworth writes,

Hall comes from a political family –  his mother, Tina Hall of Sioux City, has served as  Woodbury County Democratic Party Chairwoman and ran unsuccessfully for county treasurer in 1994. His grandfather is Connie Bodine, a former city council member and city manager.

Republican Rick Bertrand previously said he would run in House district 2, but he may switch to run against Democrat Rick Mullin in Senate district 1 instead.

In Senate district 27, our candidate is Marty Pottebaum, a retired Sioux City police officer who served a term on the city council. He is also a past president of the Sioux City Police Officer’s Association and the Iowa State Police Association. Senate district 27 covers southern areas of Sioux City, plus other parts of Woodbury County, part of Plymouth County and all of Cherokee County. A competitive Republican primary will determine Pottebaum’s opponent.

An alert Bleeding Heartland reader informs me that Democrats also have a candidate in Iowa House district 8, from which Dolores Mertz is retiring. I’ll post more details on that race as they become available.

UPDATE: Bertrand did switch to the Senate district 1 race against Mullin. The new Republican candidate in House district 2 is Ryan Beardshear, a technology consultant and partner in an e-business.

There may not be a GOP primary in Senate district 27 after all; Jason Geary dropped out, so Bill Anderson is the likely candidate.

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We have a new candidate in Iowa House district 1

Bret Hayworth has the story at his Politically Speaking blog: David Dawson, a former prosecutor in the Woodbury County Attorney Office, will be the Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 1. He sounds like a great candidate for that Sioux City district. He will face Republican high school teacher Jeremy Taylor, who almost beat retiring State Representative Wes Whitead in 2008.

Our previously declared candidate in House district 1, local business owner Rick Mullin, switched to the Iowa Senate district 1 race after Steve Warnstadt announced his retirement. Mullin’s campaign website is here.

With the filing deadline only a week away, Democrats still lack an announced candidate in House district 2, which contains most of the east side of Sioux City. Recruiting a good candidate for that race should be a higher priority than finding someone to run in Iowa Senate district 27, which is also open and contains southern parts of Sioux City. Not only are Democrats more likely to hold House district 2 than pick up Senate district 27, we are at greater risk of losing the Iowa House than the Iowa Senate.

Once we have a candidate in House district 2, it shouldn’t take long to collect the 50 signatures required to qualify for the ballot.

In related news, there may be a brutal Republican primary in Senate district 27.

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Looking for a few good Democrats in Sioux City

Sioux City residents will replace their entire delegation in the Iowa House and Senate this November. Democrat Steve Warnstadt announced his retirement yesterday from Iowa Senate district 1, which comprises much of Sioux City (map here). Warnstadt is completing his second term in the Senate and has chaired the upper chamber’s Commerce Committee. He is known for his work on veterans’ issues, among other things, and commands the 671st Troop Command of the Iowa Army National Guard.

Two-term Republican State Senator Ron Wieck told Bret Hayworth of the Sioux City Journal last week that he will not seek re-election in Senate district 27. The district comprises all of Cherokee County and portions of Plymouth and Woodbury counties, including the southern areas of Sioux City (map here).

All three Iowa House seats representing the Sioux City area are open as well. Democrat Wes Whitead announced his retirement from House district 1 last November. Democrat Roger Wendt is stepping down from House district 2 because of a cancer recurrence. Republican Chris Rants is retiring from House district 54.

Businessman and former Woodbury County Democratic Party chairman Rick Mullin had previously planned to run in House district 1, but he switched to the Senate race after learning of Warnstadt’s retirement. Mullin’s campaign website had already been updated this morning. While he is a strong candidate in a district that leans Democratic (Warnstadt was re-elected in 2006 with about 67 percent of the vote), I can’t help wishing that Warnstadt had stuck it out for another term. It’s not ideal to have another Democratic retirement in what could be a tough year for our candidates nationwide.

Republican Rick Bertrand may become Mullin’s opponent in Senate district 1, having previously announced plans to run in House district 2.

Democrats already have a candidate in House district 54: Carlos Venable-Ridley, who ran against Rants in 2008. However, no candidates have announced for us in House districts 1 and 2. Since the filing deadline is just 10 days away, we should learn more soon. We need strong candidates for those races, because we have some tough holds elsewhere, and Republicans only need a net gain of seven seats to take control of the Iowa House. The Republican candidate in House district 1 is Jeremy Taylor, who nearly defeated Whitead in 2008. If Bertrand passes on the Senate district 1 race, he will be the Republican candidate in House district 2. He gave Wendt a surprisingly close race in 2008.

As for Senate district 27, Democrats did not field a candidate against Wieck when he ran for re-election in 2006. Typically we don’t leave any open seat unchallenged, but finding a candidate for Weick’s old seat will be a lower priority for Woodbury County Democrats than filling the House district 1 and 2 races. Republicans may have a competitive primary in Senate district 27. Hayworth reported that former Sioux City Councilman Jason Geary is seeking the GOP nomination and has Wieck’s backing. Bill Anderson, a staffer for Representative Steve King and member of the Iowa GOP’s state central committee, may challenge Geary in the primary. Woodbury County Republican Party parliamentarian Steve Carlson “declined to comment” to Hayworth about whether he might run for Wieck’s seat.

If I were Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Director Derek Eadon, I would send one of my best field organizers to Woodbury County. We need an army of volunteers in the Sioux City area.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

UPDATE: Mullin formally announced his candidacy on March 10.

“As a small business owner, I’ve created jobs and met a payroll,” said Mullin. “And helping middle class Iowans and small business owners in Sioux City emerge from this national economic recession will be my top priority.”

Mullin is the owner and president of Mullin Awning & Siding, a family-owned business that has operated in the Sioux City area for more than 115 years.

“I’ve been involved in the Sioux City community for all of my life,” said Mullin. “And I want to take the values I learned growing up in Sioux City with me to the State Capitol where I’ll work every day to improve the lives of the people of Senate District 1. I will fight for good jobs, great schools, developing our local economy and providing accountability for the hard-earned tax dollars of Iowans in Sioux City.”

Mullin is a leader in the Sioux City community. He served as president of the Better Business Bureau of Siouxland from 1981-1984; he was past president of the Sioux City Convention Center, Auditorium & Tourism Bureau. Mullin was President of the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors from 2005-2007 and also served as vice president of the Taxpayers Research Council (TRC), during which time he founded the TRC Jail Committee to determine the necessity for building a new $50 million County Jail. Rick hosted informal meetings with judges, prosecutors, jailers and others and found creative solutions to avoid spending $50 million of taxpayer dollars.

“I think bringing people together and listening is the best way to find a solution to the problems that we face today,” said Mullin. “I’m proud of the work we did on the jail committee to figure out how to save $50 million for the taxpayers in Woodbury County. Listening to all sides of the issues and coming up with workable, cost-effective solutions will be how I represent the people of Senate District 1.”

Rick and his wife Sue have two children, Megan and John. Sue is a special education teacher at Crescent Park Elementary in Sioux City.

“I’m going to be meeting as many people as I can in Senate District 1 over the next several months. If you’ve got an idea about how to move Sioux City forward, then I want to hear from you.”

Mullin’s campaign co-chairs are prominent Sioux City attorney Marv Heidman and Senator Steve Warnstadt.

Mullin said that people can contact him at home, at (712) 574-9325 or email him at rick@mullinforiowa.com. To find out more about his campaign, visit www.mullinforiowa.com.

Warnstadt released a statement on March 10, saying, “I believe that Rick Mullin’s record of community involvement and strong work ethic will make him an effective advocate for the people of Sioux City. Rick’s experience as a small business owner will help efforts to attract and retain good-paying jobs to Sioux City. Rick Mullin will make a great state senator.”

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