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Allen rules out 2018 bid for governor

Will seek second Senate term

As Gov. Terry Branstad prepares for Senate confirmation to become the U.S. Ambassador to China, and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is poised to be named Iowa’s first female governor, there has been a lot of speculation who state Democrats will tap to challenge Republicans for control of Terrace Hill in 2018.

Iraq War veteran and State Rep. Todd Prichard, D-Charles City, is considering a run and State Sen. Janet Peterson of Des Moines has also expressed interest in 2018. Former State Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids — announced this week that she would not be seeking the Iowa governorship.

A potential dark horse candidate, whose name keeps popping up in Iowa Democratic political spheres, confirmed to the Newton Daily News on Thursday his name can also be scratched off the 2018 governor’s shortlist — former Newton mayor and Iowa District 15 State Sen. Chaz Allen.

Interest in the former Newton mayor as a potential democratic candidate for governor began during his first year in the State Senate.

As early at June 2015, Allen was put at No. 6 in Iowa Starting Line’s 2018 Democrat Governor power rankings. The online news site was founded in January 2015 by former democratic campaign staffer Pat Rynard of West Des Moines, and has become a growing voice in Iowa political analysis.

Allen was listed alongside names such as former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Mathis and Petersen in that ranking. His name was also floated by a 1040 WHO Radio commentator and will appear as a guest Sunday with WHO-TV 13’s Political Director David Price.

One personal Facebook posts by Allen’s colleague and Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop, D-Baxter, eludes to someone with the state senator’s resume as a good choice for Iowa’s next governor. Another by Baxter Mayor Stephen Smith cites Chaz by name as someone with “honest values” to lead the state.

Allen himself recently linked to a tweet by Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, who is considering a run for the Republican nomination, to his personal Facebook page. The tweet shared an article by Des Moines Register Columnist Kathy Obradovich about Corbett and the difficulty in transitioning from big-city mayor to governor.

Allen shared the Tweet and said, “Hmmm? Mayors?”

All these posts could add fuel to the speculation that Allen was considering a run for governor, but the first-term state senator’s statement Thursday put any rumors of a gubernatorial bid on the back burner.

Allen declined to comment on the social media posts, but he confirmed his 2018 plan to run for re-election in Iowa Senate District 15 and not seek the governorship.

Allen said:

“I am honored that constituents, consultants and the media are encouraging me to run for governor in 2018. But in 2014, when then Sen. Dennis Black announced he was not going to run for re-election, my decision to run for State Senate in District 15 was an easy one, as the timing was perfect. I had a long history of serving the people of this area, and felt my past experience as a mayor and background in economic development would serve the district well. I still feel that way.

“Yet a run for governor is not something to be entered into lightly. My family is at a point of great excitement and change, as my two daughters will be graduating from high school in the next couple of years. To expend the time and energy required to run for governor of the great state of Iowa would cause me to miss too much family time at this crescendo in their lives. I will have enough on my plate as I launch my re-election campaign for my current Senate seat, as well as maintain employment as an economic development professional. The opportunity to serve as the Senator for District 15 has and continues to be a great honor, and one I hope to be re-elected to in 2018.”

Contact Mike Mendenhall at

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