Wednesday, November 02, 2011

McKinley Out

Paul McKinley makes the inevitable official, stepping down as Iowa Senate GOP leader and, for good measure announcing he won't run for re-election next year.

The news itself isn't a shocker. Consensus seems to be that Bill Dix had the votes in September when he tried his coup d'etat, but his co-conspirators got squeamish about pulling the trigger while McKinley was vacationing outside the country.

But the timing, just six days before the Battle of Marion special election that could have made McKinley Co-Leader, not Minority leader, is interesting.

As always, I note that Iowa Senate Republican leader is the Spinal Tap Drummer of political posts: three coups and a retirement in bad health since 2006. Dozens of leaders spontaneously combust each year, it's just not widely reported. And as often happens, losing a leadership fight leads to a complete retirement from the chamber.

In addition to the internal GOP battle, McKinley's retirement opens up Senate District 14, which had changed quite a bit from his old turf. The new district is swing turf, with an April GOP reg edge of 622. It includes Clarke, Lucas, and Decatur counties, most of Marion County (but not Pella) and southern Jasper all the way up to the Newton city limits.

The House members in the district are both Republicans: freshman Joel Fry and retiring Richard Arnold. Democrat Megan Day Suhr has announced in House 28, the open Arnold seat.

No comments: