It seems to me that Republicans are beginning to get a little carried away with the whole nostalgia thing. It’s one thing to bring back a former Governor who left on his own terms in Branstad, or even Paul Pate, who left his post as Secretary of State too soon, but Republicans are not stopping there.
The latest rumored comeback deals with former State Senate Majority Leader and former Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Stu Iverson. Iverson isn’t going to run for his old senate seat that’s up for reelection in 2010. He plans on taking on McKinley Bailey in House District 9.
Iverson served two terms in the Iowa House before being elected to the State Senate in 1994. Iverson served as the Senate majority leader for eight years before being removed from that position by his Republican caucus during the middle of the legislative session in 2006.
Iverson was replaced as Majority Leader by Sen. Mary Lundby. Iverson ultimately decided not to seek reelection in 2006, but didn’t make his decision until after the June primary. That created a domino effect for Republicans as Rep. Jim Kurtenbach and Rep. George Eichhorn both sought nomination at a special nominating convention. Kurtenbach won the nomination but narrowly lost in the general election.
Not only did Republicans fail to keep control of Iverson’s senate seat, but Eichhorn’s flirtation with Iverson’s senate seat probably hurt him in his bid to keep his house seat which, he lost to McKinley Bailey. Now, the guy who walked away and left Republicans in a bad spot, wants to return to politics. Honestly, it just seems odd to me. I understand that it had to be embarrassing to lose your leadership role during the legislative session, but you chose to walk away, and in doing so, you gave Iowa Democrats the chance to win that senate seat.
I’m also puzzled that he wants to run for the State House and not the Senate. I’m told his reasoning is that he feels there is a better chance of Republicans winning majority in the House. I have to wonder if Iverson is simply looking at a complete leadership void in the House and wants to fill it. Plus, he obviously thinks it’s a good or easy year for Republicans to run and win, so why not give it a shot. It also doesn’t hurt to get back on the state’s payroll either.
The problem with this kind of logic is that it’s not as easy as some people want to make it out to be. McKinley Bailey voted the right way on all of the critical labor bills this past year. Unless he does something stupid, that means those issues are off the table. Plus, Iverson has to answer the question of why he left office only to want to return a few years later. I don’t think that’s going to be easy to do.
In this kind of political environment we need new faces, not the tired old faces of the past. What does electing Stu Iverson to the State House really get us? If we are lucky, we will control the seat for a few terms, but we once again fail to identify and grow new leaders.
Republicans need to swallow hard and do what’s best for the party in the long term. We need to find the next Matt Windschitl, Shawn Hamerlinck, Chris Hagenow, and Nick Wagner. It is time to pass the baton to the next generation. If elected, Iverson will be angling for a leadership position. If successful, and you know he would be with his fundraising ability and close ties to ITR, one of our young, up-and-coming legislators would be pushed aside for Iverson. That would be a travesty.
Look, I want to win as bad as anybody, but we need to use this environment to continue to elect outstanding new candidates, not retreads.
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