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Steve Westra, District 13 GOP: You’re Welcome

Westra back to the sidelines. (, screen cap, 2016.07.30.)
Westra back to the sidelines. (, screen cap, 2016.07.30.)

Rep. Steve Westra is quitting the Legislature. The climbing two-term District 13 Republican has changed his mind and decided he can sit on the sidelines and stop holding government accountable (I’m just reverse-quoting his 2014 campaign slogans). Like District 19 bailer Ardon Wek, Rep. Westra offers no specific reason for his decision; the press merely reports his claim that “he needs to focus on his family and his work.”

GOP leaders in District 13 have until August 9 to appoint a replacement for placeholder Westra. The GOP rumor mill teases that Rep. Alex Jensen, freshly repotted (dare I say carpetbagged?) from District 12, is a likely replacement. GOP leaders would not have that opportunity if their Referred Law 19 had taken effect. Referred Law 19 would have denied the local GOP the opportunity to replace Westra on the ballot unless Westra moved, died or coughed up a doctor’s note saying he was too sick to run. In 2015, Reps. Westra and Jensen both voted for that change, along with the rest of the Republican caucus that wanted to do away with the nefarious placeholding of Democratic candidates.

But now, counter to their 2015 votes, they are poised to take advantage of that placeholding. Thanks to my petitioning in 2015 to suspend the law they voted for and refer it to a public vote, Westra is free to quit with even less explanation than “family reasons” without denying his party a place on the ballot, and Jensen, having chickened out of a tough Senate primary, can slide into an easier House race.

Republicans, you’re welcome. Have fun re-placeholding in District 13!


  1. Lee Schoenbeck 2016-07-30 07:59

    The GOP does owe you a thanks on referring that law. By the way, a bunch of us voted no and tried hard to kill that. Clearly the GOP would have given up this seat if that bill had become law

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-30 09:09

    Thank you, Rep. Schoenbeck, for your efforts to kill the bill in 2015. Alas, the House Republicans all fell into line in the end, with only Campbell, Kaiser, May, Russell, and Schoenfish voting Nay on the conference committee report. Will the Westra bail convince my Republican friends to flip back and vote NO on Referred Law 19?

  3. mike from iowa 2016-07-30 11:18

    Any chance he got caught with his pants in the cookie jar?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-31 14:52

    Mike, get your lawyer ready to take me to court for royalties for the next hundred times that I steal that phrase from you. Lovely!

  5. mike from iowa 2016-07-31 16:23

    Use it and abuse it, Cory. You have my permission in w typing.

  6. grudznick 2016-07-31 17:50

    How does one put one’s pants into a jar of cookies and why on earth would one want to? That would get get crumbs on your pants or worse yet spoil the top layer of cookies. It is a dumb saying that probably originated in Iowa.

  7. mike from iowa 2016-07-31 18:03

    Read yer history, Grudz. “We hold these truths to be self evident……” Why wouldn’t you put pants in a jar of cookies?

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