Tuesday, July 07, 2009

McKinley In for Governor

Iowa Republican Senate Leaders or Spinal Tap Drummers?

Well, Paul McKinley is in making four official Republican candidates for governor and Rod Roberts and Jerry Behn in the wings. Logistically, this increases the chances for my pet theory: Vander Plaats nominated at a convention. But it leaves Iowa Senate Republicans with another issue.

"I wonder when he will step down as the Senate leader," writes commentator 'jerry' at the BeanWalker post that broke the story. "It’s only fair to them that he do it quickly."

Fair to other candidates and to Senate Republicans; the legislative session's January to April season is poor timing for a member, particularly a leader, running in an early June primary.

But if McKinley does step down as leader (his term in the Senate itself runs till `12), it makes Iowa Senate Republicans, down to a few but proud 18 out of 50, look like a certain fictitious English heavy metal band that's just now making a comeback.

  • End of 2006 session: Leader Stew Iverson is squeezed out by Mary Lundby in a palace coup. Iverson quits the Senate completely; Landslide Rich Olive wins his seat for the Dems that fall, part of a five seat gain that breaks the tie and leaves the Dems ahead 30-20..

  • 2007: Lundby steps down, planning to run for county supervisor back home in Marion. (Sadly, her health didn't let her do that.)

  • 2008: Ron Weick takes over, but is tossed aside for McKinley after the election costs the GOP two more Senate seats.

    So that's four different leaders in four consecutive sessions--five in five sessions if McKinley bails. Dozens of legislative leaders spontaneously combust each year; it's just not widely reported.
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