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September 9th, 2011

Sweeney Confident About Primary Race Against Grassley

One of the most intriguing matchups of the 2012 political season in Iowa will take place in Iowa House District 50.  Redistricting forced fellow Republican incumbents Annette Sweeney and Pat Grassley together.  Both have decided to run for the seat, creating a primary with large political ramifications.

Grassley, of course, is the grandson of longtime U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.  Sweeney is the former executive director of the Iowa Angus Association and a two-term Iowa House member.  Sweeney held a “Barn Bash” fundraiser at her family farm Thursday night and made it clear she will fight to remain in the Iowa House.

“We’ve got a tough race coming up for us in the next session,” Sweeney told the crowd of 250 supporters.  “We have had a representative down at the state house, either Senate or House, since 1940 from Hardin County.  I’m going to work hard to continue that tradition.”

Sweeney’s old district represented all of Hardin County.   The new map covers the northern half of Hardin, all of Grundy, and part of Butler County.   Neither Grassley nor Sweeney has represented Grundy County before.   Both are farmers competing to represent a mostly rural district.

“It’s unfortunate that they’ve put two people that are very positive for agriculture, but you know, it happens,” Sweeney told  “Every ten years it happens, so there are the cards that were dealt and we’re just going to work our best.”

There are very stark contrasts in how the two candidates launched their campaigns.   Last week, Senator Grassley reserved the conference room at the Republican Party of Iowa headquarters for a high dollar fundraiser for his grandson.  Sweeney’s first campaign event was held at the family farm, featuring calf roping and pork sandwiches.  Donations were accepted, but not required.

Pat Grassley will have the advantage of his name identification and his grandfather’s large network of donors and longtime supporters.  Annette Sweeney says Senator Chuck Grassley has helped her previous campaign efforts and they remain friendly.  She realizes Grassley will be working against her in this race.  However, Sweeney does not believe she is at a disadvantage.

“I don’t think so,” Sweeney said.  “I think a lot of people throughout the agriculture sector in our state recognize how hard I’ve worked for agriculture interests, rural interests, also veterans’ affairs and education in this area.”

Since the new district has a very large Republican voter advantage, whoever wins the primary is likely to win the general election.  Annette Sweeney feels confident she will emerge victorious.  “Yes, I do,” she said.  “Yes I do or I wouldn’t be running again.”

Fundraising will play a major factor in this race.  However, the candidate that works the hardest is likely to win.  This is rural Iowa, where hard work means more than TV ads and last names.










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About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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