Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids is out as minority leader in Iowa State Senate, following a vote by the chamber’s Democratic caucus on Sunday. Hogg had only been minority leader since last November. He was elected to the position after Mike Gronstal, who had led the caucus for 20 years, lost his seat in the 2016 election.
“The Senate Democrats voted to make a change in leadership today,” Hogg told Bleeding Heartland in an email. “I am very proud of my effort as leader over the last 11 months to recruit strong candidates, raise money, and inspire hope among Democratic activists.”
Hogg’s Cedar Rapids colleague in caucus, Sen. Wally Horn told The Gazette he had heard rumors of a possible leadership change, “but I didn’t think this would happen.”
In a press release, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price thanked Hogg “for all he has done for our party,” but offered no reason for his replacement. No member of the caucus has offered an explanation for replacing Hogg.
Pat Rynard, a former Democratic campaign staffer and publisher of the political blog Iowa Starting Line, reported that “frustrations behind the scenes over lackluster fundraising from Hogg precipitated the change.”
The caucus elected Sen. Janet Petersen of Des Moines as Hogg’s successor. Petersen was first elected to the Senate in 2012, after serving in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2001. During the last legislative session, she led the opposition to funding cuts for Planned Parenthood and other health clinics. Petersen is the first woman to serve as leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
On Sunday, Petersen told The Gazette, “I can’t say enough good things about Sen. Hogg,” and said she would build on the work Hogg had done as minority leader.
Horn struck a different tone in his comments to The Gazette. “I don’t think anything good comes out of this,” he said. “I don’t know how much worse it is. I think it is more toward the negative direction than the positive.”