Friday the 13th sure was unlucky for Iowa Republicans, who must go back to the drawing board in the new Senate district 34. GOP nominee Randi Shannon dropped out of the race against Democratic State Senator Liz Mathis with a statement more bizarre than anything I can remember in major-party Iowa politics.
Background: last year three Republicans sought the nomination in the special election to represent Iowa Senate district 18. Cindy Golding won a district nominating convention against Mary Rathje (Governor Terry Branstad's preferred candidate) and former U.S. Attorney Matt Dummermuth. Golding then lost to Mathis, a popular former television news anchor, by a convincing 3,000 vote margin (pdf).
Iowa's new map of political boundaries put most of the old Senate district 18 (but not the area where Golding lives) in the new Senate district 34. As of July 2012 (pdf), this district contained 13,138 registered Democrats, 13,995 Republicans, and 16,587 no-party voters. Nevertheless, Rathje and Dummermuth took a pass on the swing-district race, leaving Randi Shannon unchallenged for the GOP nomination. Shannon's biography on her state Senate campaign website describes her as a business owner and homeschooling mother. She was also active in Ron Paul's presidential campaign in Iowa.