State Representative Tom Sands (R-Wapello)
Photo credit: Iowa House Republicans
State Representative Tom Sands (R-Wapello)Photo credit: Iowa House Republicans
State Representative Tom Sands (R-Wapello)
Photo credit: Iowa House Republicans

After winning an uncontested Republican primary in Tuesday’s primary State Representative Tom Sands (R-Wapello) announced he was resigning from the Iowa House of Representatives and asked that his name be removed from the general election ballot.

Sands serves Iowa House District 88 includes all of Louisa County and the rural parts of Muscatine and Des Moines Counties.

Sands, a banker and real estate appraiser, was first elected in 2002.  In the House, Sands has served as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee for the last six years and the Ranking member the prior four years.  He previously served as the Chairman of the Administration and Regulation budget subcommittee from 2005-2007 and Commerce Vice-Chair 2003-2004.

“After much thought and deliberation, I have decided not to seek re-election to the Iowa House this fall. When I first ran for the Iowa House, I said that I would be a strong voice for the taxpayers of Iowa by bringing fiscal responsibility back to Des Moines and I have kept my word by supporting common sense budget principles that Iowa families and businesses abide by every day.  Every piece of pro-taxpayer legislation has had my finger prints on it for the past 10 years,” Sands said in a released statement.

“Now it’s time to return to my family and put my sole focus back on them.  It’s been an honor to serve the great people of Des Moines, Louisa, and Muscatine counties during my time in the Iowa House.  To them, I say thank you for the opportunity and I am humbled to serve as your voice in Des Moines,” he added.

“Rep. Sands is a proven defender of Iowa taxpayers.  As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee for the last six years, he always gave the hardworking taxpayers a seat at the table and was unwavering in his commitment to simplify the tax code and leave more money in Iowans’ pockets.  Rep. Sands was a tremendous asset to the House Republican caucus, and we will miss his valuable leadership in the House,” Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) responded in a statement.

Shortly after Sands resigned Jason Delzell announced that he would run to fill the vacancy left by Sands who currently didn’t have Democratic opponent in the general election.

Delzell is a lifelong resident of Wapello, Iowa, graduating from Wapello High School in 2000. He graduated with a degree in Political Science from Muscatine Community College. Delzell has worked as a Production Manager for SERVPRO of Burlington since 2010.

He has married to his wife Kristyn since 2009 and together the couple has four children: Zoey, 7, Hayden, 6, Briztol, 2, and Virginia, 1.

“I am running to represent the great people of House District 88 because we need a leader who is going to look out for our future generations,” Delzell said in a released statement. “I have four children and they’re the reason I’m running for the Iowa House. I want to do everything we can to ensure we leave them, and all Iowans, with a better state than they began with. It would be an honor to represent the people of District 88 and take my message of common sense solutions and fiscal responsibility to Des Moines.”

I don’t begrudge Sands’ decision to resign from the Iowa House. Serving for 14 years is a long time, and frankly I wish more legislators would do the same. His timing has certainly raised eyebrows. Why wait until after the primary to make your announcement? While waiting to do so when it looks like you don’t have a Democrat challenger will keep one from stepping up. I understand that, but it also keeps Republicans from throwing their hat in the ring. Republicans in Iowa House District 88 deserved to have the option of having a contested primary.

I don’t know Jason Delzell, he may be a great guy and great candidate, but this reeks of the type of backroom deal that grassroots activists are tired of.

This decision also puts the district into play. If there wasn’t going to be a Democrat candidate before there most certainly be one now. The district is Republican-friendly, but not overwhelmingly so. Republicans currently have a 831 registered voter edge. There are currently 6,775 registered independent voters in the district. If Donald Trump ends up being a drag on the ticket, and Democrats field a decent candidate this district could be flipped into the Democrat column.

It would have been better to have had a primary to let whomever ends up being the Republican nominee time to shore up the base. A special nominating convention will have to be called, and we’ll see if anyone will challenge Delzell for the nomination, as well as, who the Democrats end up fielding in their own nominating convention if anyone.

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