October 18, 2021

HD29 special election to be held Oct. 12

Local parties will hold conventions soon to determine nominees

The special election deciding who will fill the vacant Iowa House District 29 seat, previously occupied by Wes Breckenridge, is going to be Oct. 12.

Breckenridge announced he was resigning from his seat at the statehouse after accepting a job as assistant director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. The former representative said his new role was a great opportunity for him but conflicted with his duties as a legislator.

Newton News previously reported the seat is expected to be a highly contested seat by both parties. Republicans have touted their growing registered voter base in Jasper County, which now outnumbers the Democrats by more than 760 voters. The local Democratic party chair said she’s not taking that for granted.

“It’s gonna take old fashioned knocking on doors, phone calls — really getting the message out,” Michelle Smith, chairperson of the Jasper County Democratic Party, said.

Thad Nearmyer, chairperson of the Jasper County Republican Party, knows the local GOP has a good shot of taking the seat, particularly after a close finish in the 2020 race that got Breckenridge re-elected. Republicans think the seat “is ready to be plucked,” Nearmyer said.

“(It’s the) best opportunity we’ve had since last November,” Nearmyer said. “I really thought we had that one. We had worked a lot harder because they (the Democrats) sat out for COVID a lot more than we did. Since then, the numbers have gone even more in our direction.”

Jon Dunwell, who campaigned against Breckenridge in 2020, announced he would be running to claim the seat the day the news broke about the former Iowa House District 29 representative’s resignation. Dunwell told Newton News his chances look very good.

“We believe now is the time for our election,” Dunwell said.

Both parties are likely to hold conventions for nominees in the coming weeks.

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.