Still recruiting for the GOP?

Republicans came close, but did not win a majority of seats in the Iowa Senate. It appears there will be 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans when the 2011 legislature begins in January. 

At the national level, Republicans are reportedly courting West Virginia’s new senator, promising a key committee post if he switches.  Is that happening in the Iowa Senate? Last this afternoon I asked state Senator Paul McKinley, the Republican leader who just today was reelected to lead Republicans in the senate for the next two years.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you I’ve thought about that,” McKinley replied.

Rod Boshart of The Cedar Rapids Gazette followed up: Is that as far as it’s gone?

“I’ll just say I’ve thought of it,” McKinley says.

Lynn Campbell of asked how many senate Democrats McKinley and other Republicans may be courting.

“I think there are individuals that we know that clearly were put in tough situations over the past two or three years and might be more prone to that, but we thought about it. We’ll analyze where we are and proceed accordingly.”

I then asked about the timing of a switch, doing it before McKinley appoints committees, as the lure of a plum job as a committee chair is proffered to the potential flipper.

“We have not appointed committees yet.” McKinley replied.

In the past decade two Democrats in the Iowa House switched over to the Republican Party.  Representative Doug Struyk of Council Bluffs, a Democrat turned Republican in 2004, did not seek reelection.  A Republican won Struyk’s House seat in last week’s election by an 11 point margin over the Democratic candidate.  Representative Dawn Pettengill, who switched parties in 2007, was reelected as a Republican last week. She had no Democrat running against her and won 98.13 percent of the vote.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.