Democrats are back to the drawing board in Senate District 15.
Taylor Van De Krol, nominated at a special convention two weeks ago to replace Senator Chaz Allen, withdrew his candidacy with the Secretary of State’s office earlier today, that office confirmed.
UPDATE: A special nominating convention will be held next Wednesday at 7:00.
UPDATE: Van De Krol released the following statement late this afternoon:
“I am announcing today that I have withdrawn my name as the Democratic candidate in Senate District 15 for personal reasons.
“I encourage the Democrats in Jasper County and eastern Polk County to move swiftly to nominate a new candidate that will be able to defeat Republican Zach Nunn in November.
“During his time in the Iowa House, Nunn has voted for an extreme agenda that has hurt working families; reduced access to health care, especially for Iowa women; and consistently voted to support millionaires and big corporations over the working Iowans.
“The people of Senate District 15 deserve a new State Senator who is committed to expanding access to affordable health care, making Iowa a leader in education again, and ensuring that Iowans have access to vocational tech training that puts them on a path to good-paying jobs.”
Van De Krol’s abrupt departure from the race creates yet another chaotic moment in this year’s crucial legislative races. Democrats need to pick up six seats in the Iowa Senate to recapture the majority, so losing any of their current districts would make that task very difficult for this cycle or the next.
Allen was a popular incumbent who largely kept this district off the target map for both parties. Donald Trump won the seat 53% to 39% in 2016, though the Newton area used to lean more Democratic. Republicans got their underperforming candidate to drop out after Allen’s departure, nominating instead popular State Representative Zach Nunn for the race. That already turned SD 15 into a potential pick-up potential for Republicans in a year where they should mostly be on defense.
The timeframe to nominate a new candidate is quickly closing. August 25 is the final day that the Secretary of State’s office accepts filings for state and federal offices. However, parties usually give some public notice before holding a special nominating convention to pick a candidate for an empty ballot line. There isn’t a specific constitutional requirement for a set number of days of notice, but both parties typically prefer to give a week’s notice so precinct delegates have time to prepare.
Lori Slings of Altoona may be the most obvious person for Democrats to quickly nominate. She ran against Van De Krol at the nominating convention and has won several elections to the Southeast Polk Board of Education. Of course, both she and Van De Krol ran in that convention before it was known that Nunn would get in the race.
Today’s developments come on the heels of Senator Rick Bertrand’s decision yesterday to run for reelection in the competitive Sioux City senate district. He was nominated at a convention last night. Democrat Jackie Smith may still be favored to win that race, but Bertrand is a tough competitor and will likely force Democrats to spend more funds to flip that seat now.
by Pat Rynard