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.
From Quentin Stanerson's Facebook post on December 14:
Stanerson Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election
(DES MOINES) – Today, Rep. Quentin Stanerson (R-Center Point) announced that he will not seek re-election to the Iowa House in 2016.
“After much thoughtful deliberation, I have decided not to seek re-election, and pass the reigns on to a new leader. My family and North Linn Schools have sacrificed much in order for me to serve, but now it is time for me to return home to devote more time and energy to them. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and not having to worry about missing any of my kid’s activities.
I want to sincerely thank the people of District 95 in Buchanan and Linn counties for giving me the distinct honor of serving as their State Representative.”
Rep. Stanerson, a social studies teacher at North Linn High School, was first elected in 2012. In the House, Stanerson serves as the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and had previously been the Vice Chairman of the Education Committee from 2013 to 2015.
During his time in the House, Rep. Stanerson has overseen several major legislative accomplishments. During his first session in the House, the General Assembly overhauled Iowa’s property tax system and developed an innovative education reform package. Additionally, Rep. Stanerson continuously supported efforts to balance Iowa’s budget by spending less than the state collected in revenue, and refused to spend one-time money for ongoing expenses.
“I am confident that the work we accomplished during my tenure will benefit the citizens of Iowa and has made this state a great place to work and raise a family,” said Rep. Stanerson.
Speaker Select Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) stated that Stanerson’s leadership will be missed.
“Rep. Stanerson’s experience and leadership have been of great significance to all members of the Legislature,” said Upmeyer. “He has been a tremendous asset to our caucus, his constituents, and the entire state of Iowa.”
Stanerson will serve out the remainder of his term.