State Rep. David Tjepkes, a Republican from Gowrie with a reputation for working across party lines on issues as diverse as road funding and protests at military funerals, announced Monday that he will not seek re-election this year.That "reputation for working across party lines" might have been more curse than blessing in a primary matchup with Shaw, a tea partier who first announced his 2010 run as an independent, won a hot primary, then picked up the old Delores Mertz seat from the Democrats on her retirement.
His retirement will end a decade-long legislative career in which he became chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
''At the conclusion of this, my fifth term in the Iowa House of Representatives, I have decided not to seek re-election to a sixth term,'' he said in a written statement. ''It has been a humbling and rewarding experience to serve all the folks in our district in the Iowa Legislature.
Tjepkes represents House District 50, which includes Calhoun and Greene counties plus most of Webster County. The reapportionment process placed him in a new House District 10 along with Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens. That district includes Calhoun, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties plus western Webster County.
Shaw quickly aligned himself with the Crazy Caucus. Tjepkes, a generation older and years removed from any tough races, was one of four House Republicans who did not co-sponsor the anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment (though he, along with all Republicans and sadly three Democrats, ended up voting for it in the end). This had some folks talking primary challenge even before the map came out.
Shaw now is the favorite over Democrat To Be Named Later in this good Republican (reg edge +2333 on Map Day)
That Didn't Take Long Update: Shaw announces two days later.