Oelwein City Councilman Bruce Bearinger announced today that he will run for state representative in House District 64, which includes parts of Buchanan and Fayette Counties.Bearinger is challenging GOP incumbent Dan Rasmussen of Oelwein, who had such a tough re-election race in 2008 that he lost, to one-term Dem Gene Ficken, before winning the 2010 rematch by just 208 votes. (With this announcement it looks like a Ficken comeback isn't happening.)
Bearinger teaches agriculture and biology at Jesup High School and has previously worked as the Education Director for ISU Extension in Buchanan County. He is also the FFA Advisor for Jesup High School and helps with a variety of community services, including farm safety, environmental projects, and charity events.
“It’s time for strong leadership at the statehouse that will put the partisanship aside and get things done for Iowa. I’ll work to find common ground on the key issues we face and keep focused on putting Iowans back to work while helping the middle class grow,” said Bearinger.
On the city council, Bearinger serves on the economic development finance committee, works on local food initiatives, and is helping develop a health and wellness survey for Oelwein. He has been a teacher in Oelwein, was a member of the Oelwein Jaycees, and a donor to the Fine Arts Guild in Oelwein.
So there's an Oelwein vs. Independence dimension to this as well as a partisan dimension; down the ballot the friends and neighbors factor matters a lot. But as for the partisan aspect, Rasmussen loses a couple hundred voters. The last race was pricey, with both Waterloo and Cedar Rapids TV ads. Look for another top tier race here.