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There is one question I hope incumbents running for another term in the Iowa House ask themselves every two years when they file their papers to run for re-election:

Why am I doing this?

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And I hope they ask this question and take it seriously. I hope they genuinely reflect on the reasons they are running to represent Iowans.

Obviously Democrats and Republicans will have very different reasons for running when it comes to the issues. But regardless, all of them should ask themselves that same question — why are they doing it?

It is no secret the Iowa House has let conservatives down the last few years. Whether it is Big Tech Censorship, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, providing more defense for medical freedom and privacy, Education Savings Accounts, the Protect Life Amendment — the list could go on — it is clear the Iowa House simply isn’t made up of a conservative Republican majority.

And for conservatives across Iowa, there is hope in 2022. There is hope because there are primary elections against some House Republicans who continually hinder the conservative cause.

In House District 5, Zach Dieken is running against Rep. Dennis Bush.

In House District 37, Barb Kniff McCulla is running against Rep. Jon Thorup.

In House District 53, Rep. Dean Fisher is running against Rep. Dave Maxwell.

In House District 60, Deb Hild is running against Rep. Jane Bloomingdale.

In House District 66, Rep. Steve Bradley is running against Rep. Lee Hein.

In House District 87, Rep. Jeff Shipley is running against Rep. Joe Mitchell.

In House District 88, Helena Hayes is running against Rep. Dustin Hite.

And that doesn’t include a handful of districts where seemingly conservative choices are running against moderate choices.

It also doesn’t include the challenge of Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, who has recently endorsed anti-life, anti-ESA Republicans in their re-election campaigns.

It appears the grassroots movement is waking up to the reality that the Iowa House Republican caucus is not “who we thought they were.”

But let’s go back to that question I hope they’ve all asked — why are they doing this?

There are typically two kinds of people in politics — people who want to do something and people who want to be something.

I think most people get into politics as people who want to do something. But they quickly realize it’s pretty cool to be something instead. And doing things isn’t as important or cool as being something.

Yet I see endorsement after endorsement from Iowa House Republicans proclaiming, for instance, “I’m with Jane!”

That’s fine, but if you’re “with Jane,” you know who you aren’t with?

Unborn babies.

Iowa families who desperately want expanded choice in education.

If you’re with Jane, you’re against them. Why? Because Jane is against them. Bloomingdale has voted against life multiple times. She also opposes Governor Kim Reynolds’ Education Savings Accounts proposal.

A number of legislators endorsed Rep. Dustin Hite, who to his credit is pro-life, but is not willing to support Education Savings Accounts for Iowa families.

A number of legislators endorsed Rep. Joe Mitchell, who has championed keeping gender identity in the Iowa Civil Rights code despite biological boys using the same bathroom and lockerroom as girls across Iowa and a teenage biological female going topless at the Pella Aquatic Center because she identified as a boy last summer.

Now, I get it, we’re all human. We all have emotions. We all want to be liked. We all have friendships. We all want to be around people we like.

And maybe all of these moderate Republicans are likable people. I certainly don’t have any personal dislike for them. Maybe they’re good company. Maybe they’re fun to be around. Maybe I like them on my team.

But that speaks nothing to their qualifications to be a Republican in the Iowa legislature. Republicans don’t vote against giving Iowans a say when it comes to a right to abortion being in their state constitution like Hein, Maxwell and Bloomingdale.

Republicans don’t vote against protecting innocent unborn babies with a heartbeat like Hein, Maxwell and Bloomingdale did.

Republicans don’t refuse to support giving Iowa families greater freedom and choice in education like apparently half of the House Republican caucus did.

That’s not what Republicans do — or at least not what they’re supposed to do according to the state platform.

But it’s what House Republican after House Republican is doing during this primary cycle. It has truly turned into a conservative-versus-moderate, grassroots-versus-establishment primary election.

The elected elite has banded together and “endorsed” their own colleagues. This seems really strange because it doesn’t often happen. And it probably shouldn’t for good reason.

These people are equals. They have to work together. If Joe Blow endorses Candidate B and Candidate A wins, how will Joe Blow and Candidate A function together? On the flip side, could Candidate B promise something to Joe Blow in exchange for an endorsement?

There are supposed to be 100 different representatives at the Capitol to represent each of their 30,000-some constituents — not 30-40 House Republicans who flock together because they like each other and they’re more comfortable with a moderate majority than a conservative caucus.

Each of these incumbents has glaring problems with their record. They’ve opposed life, they’ve opposed Education Savings Accounts, they’ve opposed stopping the radical LGBTQ agenda or they’ve done some combination of such.

And despite it all, they’re still supported by a large number of their Republican colleagues.

On one hand, I hope each person running for re-election is running to do something. On the other, if so many are so willing to endorse those who oppose life, oppose ESAs, oppose expanded school choice and oppose stopping the radical LGBTQ agenda, I am very concerned.

One thing is clear: there are more problems in the Iowa House than conservatives realized. But this cycle has revealed that to be true.

Depending on how these races turn out, it will be interesting to see how the caucus functions next year should there be a more conservative bend to it.

Unfortunately, it seems the elected elite are doing all they can to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Author: Jacob Hall

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