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March 12th, 2010

The Republican Primary in Senate District 27 in Sioux City

Capitol DomeWritten by Brent Hoffman

Years ago, it was commonplace for a respected Republican legislator to hand-pick and endorse his successor, who would then run unopposed in the primary and on to the general election.

But my, how times have changed.

In 2008, State Representative Clarence Hoffman (HD-55) endorsed Don Friedrichsen, only to see him beaten handily by Jason Schultz, who campaigned hard and well to the right. Just last week, State Senator Ron Wieck (SD-27) announced his support for Jason Geary to replace him, only to see the news greeted with disdain among conservatives and some Republican leaders.

Jason Geary, a former Sioux City Councilman, previously earned the ire of citizens by pledging to “hold the line on property taxes” and then actually voting to raise taxes 3 consecutive years, leaving Sioux City with the highest tax rate in the state (2005-2007).

This and other votes on spending issues frame him as a moderate, and has resulted in no shortage of credible, conservative candidates to oppose him. Bill Anderson, a State Central Committee Member and advisor to Congressman Steve King, has declared his intention to run and expects to formalize it next week.

Mr. Anderson, who has been involved in politics since the age of 15, said, “I’m not afraid of a primary fight.” Of interest, Anderson ran Geary’s campaign when he was elected to the City Council in 2003, but refused to support him for reelection in 2007 because of his record on taxes and spending.

Mr. Geary was soundly beaten in that reelection bid by Aaron Rochester, a principled conservative. Based on media accounts, another conservative, Steve Carlson, had also considered a primary challenge until reports surfaced that Anderson would step forward.

Mr. Carlson, the County GOP Parliamentarian, noted that, “Jason is a likeable young man, but his record is one of more spending and higher taxes, and that doesn’t play well with conservatives.”

For his part, even Senator Wieck may be reluctant to campaign for Mr. Geary, perhaps unaware of his record on the City Council and telling conservative activists he “didn’t know Bill Anderson might be interested in the position.” Sources have said that several other conservative candidates have also considered entering the fray, but are likely to defer to Mr. Anderson. Either way, this primary will be one to watch and a bellweather for conservatives in the Republican Party.”

Brent Hoffman is a conservative and founder of The Conservative Forum. He served one term on the Sioux City Council & was honored as “Best Politician” every year in office. He’s a former military officer and a Pentagon 9/11 Survivor.


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