Iowa will have a new Speaker of the Iowa House — just not yet.
Linda Upmeyer announced today at a House Republican caucus meeting at the Statehouse that she will be stepping down as speaker at the end of 2019 and not seek reelection in 2020. An election to pick the next Republican leader will be held at a later date that was not specified.
Republican House members gathered at the Statehouse for a long caucus meeting on Monday, exiting the room shortly before 3:00 p.m.
Upmeyer has served in the House since 2003, representing a Republican-leaning district based out of Clear Lake. A nurse practitioner, she was elected speaker in 2015, becoming the first woman to hold the title in Iowa. Her father served as speaker for two years in the early 1980s.
“After thoughtful consideration, I have made the decision that it is time for me to step away from the Legislature to spend more time with my husband, kids, and grandkids,” Upmeyer said in a statement. “It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve the people of Iowa.”
Governor Kim Reynolds carried Upmeyer’s HD 54 with 63% of the vote in 2018, so the race to replace Upmeyer in 2020 should heavily favor the Republican candidate.
Rumors had swirled during the final weeks of the 2019 legislative session that Upmeyer may step down before gaveling out. That scenario didn’t play out, but talks started up again in the past few weeks.
So far, it is expected that Representatives Pat Grassley, Chris Hagenow and Matt Windschitl may seek votes to be the next speaker.
Starting Line will have more on this developing story.
by Pat Rynard