ANKENY, Iowa – Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, announced that he would run for re-election in 2022 in the new Iowa Senate District 23.
Whitver, 41, currently lives in the newly drawn Iowa Senate District 21 that encompasses all of the city of Ankeny. Iowa Senate District 23 includes northeast Dallas County, including Bouton and Granger, and northern and eastern Polk County, including Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Elkhart, Mitchellville, Polk City, and Runnells.
He currently represents Iowa Senate District 19.
“I made a promise to Iowans to implement conservative budgets, reduce taxes and put pro-growth policies into place,” said Senator Whitver. “Since 2017 the Iowa Senate has been leading the way in passing those historic reforms. Iowans have responded by electing more Republicans to the Iowa Senate and maintaining a historically large majority,” Whitver said.
“We kept our promises on funding education with stable, reliable increases, supported law enforcement with bold reforms, and rewarded work and investment. As majority leader in the Iowa Senate, I am proud of the work we have done, but we still have much left to do. With a record budget surplus, it’s time to continue providing more tax relief for Iowans and their families, and give that money back to them with real, permanent tax cuts,” he added.
State Senator Zach Nunn, R-Bondurant, also resides in that district but is running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District instead of running for re-election to the Iowa Senate.
State Senators have until February 2, 2022, to register their residence with the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.
Whitver was first elected to the Iowa Senate in a special election in 2011, initially representing Iowa Senate District 35 that included Ankeny, Johnston, Grimes, Polk City, and the entire northern part of Polk County. He was redrawn into his current district in 2012 that includes Ankeny, Alleman, Saylor Township, and a small part of Des Moines.
Iowa Senate Democrats said Whitver was running away to a safe district because President Joe Biden won the new district in 2020.
“This is a clear indication that Republicans are extremely nervous about the 2022 elections,” said Senate Majority Fund Executive Director Andy Suchorski. “Jack Whitver, who has publicly declared many times that Republicans are not losing suburban voters, is now moving out of his suburb because he knows he can’t win. Democrats want to put more money in the pockets of hardworking Iowans and lower costs for Iowa families, and Republicans like Jack Whitver and Jake Chapman only want to pursue an extreme, far-right agenda. It’s why more and more voters continue to leave the Republican Party for the Democratic Party.”
Todd Brady of Ankeny announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Iowa Senate District 21. Earlier this year, Brady created the Vaccine Hunter website to help Iowans obtain COVID-19 vaccines across the state.
Biden did defeat former President Donald Trump by 322 votes in Ankeny’s 15 precincts. However, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, defeated her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield by 432 votes in Ankeny. U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, edged out her Republican challenger, former U.S. Rep. David Young, by just 78 votes.
In local races in 2020, the late State Rep. John Landon, R-Ankeny, defeated his Democratic opponent, Andrea Phillips, in the nine Ankeny precincts in the current Iowa House District 37 by 1,214 votes in a hotly contested race where Democrats spent over $1 million. Republican Michael Bousselot won the special election, also defeating Phillips.
Garrett Gobble defeated then-incumbent State Rep. Heather Matson, D-Ankeny, in Iowa House District 38 but lost the six Ankeny precincts in his district by 339 votes.
Trump will not be at the top of the ticket in 2022.
Both Bousselot and Gobble were drawn into the new Iowa House District 42. Neither has announced re-election plans, and it is possible one of the two could run in Iowa Senate District 21 to avoid a Republican primary in the House District (or move to Iowa House District 41 that has an open seat).
Whitver’s move to a safe Republican district could be strategic to allow someone like Bousselot to run for the Iowa Senate. As the Iowa Senate Majority Leader, it would also allow him to fundraise and campaign for other Republican candidates, which would be harder to do if he were in the middle of a hotly contested race. Former Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow made a similar move in 2018, moving from Windsor Heights to Adel.
However, all of this is just speculation since Whitver has not explained his move, and no Republican has announced in Iowa Senate District 21.