Linn GOP Nominates Challengers in Senate 34, House 70 Races

By James Lynch, Reporter

MARION, Iowa – Republicans nominated a pair of first-time candidates in two Linn County legislative districts Aug. 6.

In Marion, Senate 34 Republicans nominated Ryan Flood, 26, to face Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids, who was elected in a special election in the fall of 2011.

Senate 34 includes Hiawatha and Marion as well as all or parts of Monroe, Marion, Bertram and Putnam townships.

Meanwhile, in House 70, Republicans nominated Lance Lefebure, 30, to challenge Rep. Todd Taylor, D-Cedar Rapids, who is seeking re-election to a 10th term in the Iowa House. House 70 covers an area south and west of the Cedar River and north of 16th Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids.

Flood, who grew up in Marion and is a 2005 graduate of Linn-Mar High School, has worked as a financial representative helping people with their retirement planning. More recently, he worked for the Ron Paul presidential campaign and as director of operations for libertarian-leaning Liberty for All in Texas.

Flood, according to Emma Nemecek of Mount Vernon, who placed his name in nomination, is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage and supports the 2nd Amendment.

"He'll take the fight to Liz Mathis and hold Democrats accountable," she said.

Whether talking about President Obama, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal or Mathis, "Democratic leadership is failing Iowa," Flood told the delegates at the Marion Public Library.

He hopes a victory in Senate 34 will put the GOP in control of the Senate where Democrats have a 26-24 majority.

"It's time to say 'Enough is enough' and cut the spending and cut the red tape so job creators can do what they do best – create jobs," Flood said.

Although Iowa has fared better than many state's, "It's not as good as it could be," according to Flood. Many of his friends from high school and the University of Iowa, where he graduated in 2010, can't find jobs. Too many of them, Flood said, are leaving Iowa to look for work.

His answer is to reduce taxes – income, corporate and capital gains – to improve the business climate in Iowa.

He noted recent surveys have rated Iowa low for being a place to start a business. Flood wants to turn that around so Iowa is more attractive to all businesses "from the Rockwells to the businesses in downtown Marion."

The GOP has a slight advantage in voter registration in Senate 34, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's August report. There are 14,034 Republicans 13,091 Democrats and another 16.722 voters registered as "no party."

That's not the case in House 70. Democrats outnumber Republicans 8,647 to 5,330. There are 8,012 "no party" voters.

However, Lefebure believes he has an opportunity in the west-side Democratic stronghold.

He's "not convinced the public is in love with Todd Taylor," Lefebure said Monday afternoon. "It doesn't seem he's been as active as some of his co-workers."

Lefebure grew up in the area and farms with his family near Fairfax. He also owns Lefebure Design where he designs high-accuracy GPS receivers as well as other electronics and software. His products primarily are for agricultural uses, such as guiding farm machinery.

It's the first time Lefebure has run for office, but thinks the timing is right.

"I've been interested for quite a while," he said Monday afternoon.

His concern for state government is efficiency and effectiveness.

"My interest is largely on the finances – keeping the state in a fiscally responsible situation," Lefebure said.
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