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May 31st, 2012

Primary Preview: Davenport vs. Hess in HD 2

No matter what happens on Election Day, a freshman legislator will represent the residents of Iowa House District 2 next year. There is no incumbent for the area, which includes all of Clay and Palo Alto Counties and part of Dickinson. The two Republicans running for the empty seat are Megan Hess and Josh Davenport, both from Spencer.

Hess, 25, served as a page and clerk in the Iowa Legislature and later worked for Congressman Steve King, Senator Chuck Grassley and on the research staff for the Minnesota legislature. A Spencer law firm currently employs Megan Hess.

“I’m running because I believe that it’s time for experienced people, but young people, to step up and run for office,” Hess said. “I think my generation in particular has been disproportionately impacted by the economy and so I think we need to step up and run.”

Josh Davenport grew up on an Iowa farm. He moved to the Spencer area in 2005. Davenport is the former co-chair of the Clay County GOP and serves as the pastor for a local church.

“I believe that in our particular district there was a need for a more particularly experienced and more conservative candidate,” Davenport told when asked about his decision to run.

Hess declared her candidacy last year. She raised $5,980 during the last reporting period and maintains $7,171.45 cash on hand for the final week of the primary race. Davenport joined the race in March. He raised $13,245 during the last quarter and holds $4,029.66.

Megan Hess was endorsed by the NRA. Josh Davenport garnered the endorsements of House Representatives Kim Pearson and Tom Shaw, as well as State Senator Kent Sorenson and Liberty Iowa PAC. He says the Second Amendment is one of his key issues.

“I think it is unfortunate that the NRA gave their endorsement to her,” Davenport said. “Obviously that has an impact with a lot of faithful NRA members locally. I’m an NRA member, an NRA certified instructor. I have personally made a stand for Second Amendment locally.”

The two candidates engaged in a debate last week in Spencer. Hess felt good about the event’s proceedings. “I think what was really highlighted in that debate was specifics,” Hess said. “Because I have so much legislature experience, I’m able to talk about the issues on a deeper level than my opponent. People are looking for who can talk about the issues on a more specific level, rather than just talking points.”

Both candidates felt the conclusion of the debate stood out. “In closing comments, she was able to end it and she tried to say there was not much of a difference between the candidates, and I believe that there is,” Davenport said.

Hess felt the conclusion of the debate separated her from Josh Davenport. “As I closed the debate on Thursday, I asked people to remember November,” Hess said. “Steve Bomgaars is a formidable candidate for Democrats. We need someone who can beat Steve Bomgaars. I think I have the name ID. I’ve been working on this for the last year. I think I have the experience to put this seat in play for Republicans.”

Bomgaars serves on the Spencer City Council and is a longtime high school teacher. In fact, Megan Hess is one of Bomgaars’ former students. Republicans hold a registration advantage of about 1,400 voters in HD 2. However, this is one of the more Democrat-leaning territories in Northwest Iowa. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Palo Alto County by 500 voters.

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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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