Must be an end of the fiscal year thing: we have a SECOND Republican Senate departure today as Keota Republican Sandra Greiner announces her second retirement.
Greiner's retirement isn't a shock, but official announcements are an automatic big deal. She was facing re-election next year in a dead-even swing district located half in Johnson County. Granted, it's some of the least Democratic parts of the county, but just a reminder that Greiner was the ONLY senator of either party to vote no on The Map in 2011.
At least redistricting was better to Greiner than it was in 2001. She had just moved up (or, as my House friends say, OVER) to the Senate after 8 years in the House when she got TRIPLED up with fellow Republican Dave Miller and Democrat Mark Shearer. Greiner got the short straw and ran for the open House seat.
Greiner retired in 2008, making a failed bid for the Republican National Committee. Her handpicked successor, Jarad Klein, lost the House seat to Democrat Larry Marek by just over 100 votes.
Back on the Senate side, Miller beat Shearer in 2002 but lost to Democrat Becky Schmitz in 2006. In 2010, Greiner made her comeback to beat Schmitz, while Klein stomped Marek in their rematch.
Who runs for what depends in part on the plans of the two House members, Klein and Democrat Sally Stutsman, who holds the Johnson County half of the district. Rumor mill says Democrats had recruited a Washington County based candidate before today's announcement. Watch tomorrow's Trek Fest Parade in Riverside and see who's marching.
(One name not on the list: Schmitz, as redistricting took her out of this seat. She made a successful comeback last year, getting elected to the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors.)
This is a must-win for both parties and good logistically for Democrats; sure, the Iowa City-Coralville folks can't VOTE in this race but we can sure doorknock North Liberty.
As for Greiner, she's a well connected big league player in Iowa Republican politics and I don't expect her to vanish.