May 27, 2024

Dunwell says it’s time ‘to bring change’ to HD29

Republicans end last weekend campaign for special election at trapshoot, rally with Grassley

Jon Dunwell spent his last weekend campaigning for the Iowa House District 29 special election doorknocking, making an appearance at the Jasper County GOP’s annual trapshoot fundraiser at the local gun club and receiving support from one of the state’s top Republicans during a small rally in Newton.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was accompanied by grandson Rep. Pat Grassley, told guests at the Oct. 8 rally that Dunwell represents “the satisfaction you get out of life.” In order to have a quality life, the elder Grassley said a person must have faith, family, good employment and be community oriented.

“And I think Jon represents all of those — family, faith, his profession, what he does within the Christian community to help other ministers and his involvement in his community that’s best evidenced by what you’re doing here,” Grassley said. “Public service is something that I don’t think we honor enough.”

Dunwell represents public service, Grassley said, and he hopes his supporters see in him something that will improve the Iowa Legislature. The 88-year-old senator told Dunwell, who previously campaigned for the District 29 seat in 2020, to not presume the race is over or in his favor just yet.

“People say you’re in pretty good shape, but don’t take anything for granted. Remember, whether this was August, September or now three days before the election, this is the first day of the rest of the election,” Grassley said before shaking Dunwell’s hand. “And don’t screw it up.”

Grassley wasn’t the only elected Republican to give Dunwell a ringing endorsement. At the Jasper County Republican Party’s annual trapshoot fundraiser, Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg called Dunwell an “outstanding candidate” who is “just the right guy” to flip the seat long held by a Democrat.

“He’s somebody who will be a great ally for Gov. Reynolds and myself when it comes to all those things that we talked about: fiscal responsibility, cutting taxes standing up for rural Iowa,” Gregg said. “So I am proud to support my friend Jon Dunwell. I wish him well on Tuesday.”

In addition to being a huge moneymaker for the local Republican party, the trapshoot draws many candidate hopefuls and legislators running for reelection; during the October event, about a dozen showed up, including: State Sens. Jim Carlin and Amy Sinclair and party activist Gary Leffler.

The Oct. 12 special election was just days away when the Grassleys gave their endorsement to Dunwell, who provided supporters with a similar stump speech from his past campaign against then-Rep. Wes Breckenridge. Dunwell highlighted the seat had not been claimed by a Republican in decades.

“They have a machine, they know what they’re doing — it’s time for us to change that dynamic,” Dunwell said. “It’s time for us to bring change to what’s going on here in Jasper County. It matters and you matter and your engagement and your involvement matter.”

Dunwell said he represents the values of those living Jasper County and wants to save constituents money in taxes, noting his appearances at city council meetings and board of supervisors meetings where he asked leaders to consider the impacts of taxes on citizens.

The Republican candidate — who has been involved with the communities of Jasper County for the past 11 years — said he’s about protecting citizens’ freedoms and creating opportunities with jobs in the community. Dunwell also stressed the importance of transparency and engagement from elected leaders.

“Every person has a right to have a seat at the table, to be heard and to have a voice in what’s going on in our country, what’s going on in our state and what’s going on in our community,” he said. “You know I’m going to work hard on your behalf. It also matters that you get to those polls.”

Dunwell drew attention to the shift in power throughout Jasper County, noting the election of Brandon Talsma and reelections of Denny Carpenter and Doug Cupples to form a fully Republican county board of supervisors. Dunwell claimed it’s also bubbling up in the upcoming school board election.

“It’s about people getting engaged and being involved and making a difference and bringing a difference to their communities,” Dunwell said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.