Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix announced this afternoon that he was resigning both from his leadership position and from the Iowa Senate following this morning’s publication of a Starting Line article that showed him in what appeared to be a romantic relationship with a Statehouse lobbyist.
Senate Republicans announced they would hold a vote for a new leader this Wednesday. Senators Jack Whitver, Randy Feenstra and Charles Schneider are rumored to be potential candidates.
Dix had weathered previous controversies over his leadership and handling of the Kirsten Anderson sexual harassment reporting and trial, but today’s new controversies proved to be too much. Over the last year, several members of the Senate Republican caucus had not been happy with Dix’s tenure as majority leader and made those concerns public.
Several Statehouse insiders privately expressed their frustration to Starting Line of the brazenness of Dix’s actions, that it was in the middle of a bar in the heart of Des Moines, where everyone is following politics. It was also viewed to further exacerbate the Senate Republicans’ problems on the issue of sexual harassment, expected to be a topic on the campaign trail for incumbent Republican senators.
Governor Kim Reynolds was asked about Dix multiple times at her morning press conference.
“I am certainly disappointed in what I’m hearing. I don’t know all the facts,” Reynolds said, explaining she had just heard of the news shortly before speaking to reporters. “I’m hoping to meet with Senator Dix this afternoon and better understand what the facts are.”
Reynolds added that she had requested the meeting with Dix. Senator Jack Whitver and Speaker Linda Upmeyer were seen earlier today heading into the governor’s office.
The news quickly spread to every major outlet in Iowa following Starting Line’s publication. Senate Democrats released a statement on the matter, though most political organizations stayed out of it for the moment.
“The video posted on Iowa Starting Line is a serious matter for Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix to discuss with his family, his fellow Senate Republicans and Governor Reynolds,” Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen said in a statement. “Because this involves Senator Dix and a lobbyist, there will be questions about the impact of this relationship on legislation.”
There will likely need to be a special election for Dix’s seat. His Senate District 25 covers Grundy, Hardin and parts of Butler and Story County. Democrat Tracy Freese has been running for the district since last year.
by Pat Rynard