DES MOINES, Iowa — Out of the ordinary. Unusual. Unprecedented in modern Iowa political history. Jon Thorup calls it, “…a little disappointing. I won’t lie about that.”
Thorup, an Iowa State Trooper and Republican State Representative from Marion County, is running for a third term. But first he must win a primary in the newly-configured House District 37. And now he knows that Governor Kim Reynolds, the leader of his Republican party, wants him to lose.
Longtime observers of Iowa politics with whom WHO 13 spoke couldn’t remember a case of an Iowa governor–from any party–publicly campaigning for the defeat of a sitting legislator of her own party, as Governor Kim Reynolds is doing.
On May 18th, Reynolds’ re-election campaign sent out her endorsement of Thorup’s Republican challenger, construction company owner Barb Kniff McCulla:
Thorup said the governor never told him why she is working to defeat him. After all, he said, there are nearly two dozen other fellow Republicans in the house who also declined to approve her school choice legislation. It could transfer tens of millions of dollars per year from the public school system to assist up to 10,000 students switch from public school to private schools. Senate Republicans passed the plan this past legislative session. House Republicans declined.
This is the second straight legislative session that Reynolds failed to convince enough members of her own party to support her plan.
So why did Reynolds single out Thorup, at least so far, when other Republicans also declined to support Reynolds plan? “I’m not really sure. We (he and the governor) haven’t really talked about the situation at all,” Thorup said.