It appears Guy Vander Linden will enter the general election effectively unopposed in Iowa House District 79.
The district, which includes Oskaloosa, western Mahaska County, Pella and part of northeastern Marion County, had listed both Vander Linden and Chris Wilson as candidates. Vander Linden is a Republican incumbent; Wilson was running as a Democrat.
Anita Martin, chairwoman for the Marion County Democratic Party, told the Pella Chronicle that Wilson has taken a job out of state and no longer lives in Iowa. That means he is ineligible to hold office. State Democratic officials on Thursday confirmed Wilson is not a candidate for the seat.
Wilson had indicated to the Oskaloosa Herald he intends to return to Iowa and has not declined an offered spot in a planned candidate forum in October. He could not be reached for comment.
Vander Linden said he was as bewildered by the turn of events as anyone, finding out on Thursday that the election fight he was prepared for had evaporated.
"I really don't know what to say," he said. "I'm happy it appears it's going to be hard to lose the election."
Ballot vacancies are generally filled with nominees from party conventions. Information from the Iowa Secretary of State's office suggests it is too late for Democrats to replace Wilson on the ballot:
"The Iowa Code does not provide a 'start date' for filing nomination papers from political party conventions held after the primary election to fill general election ballot vacancies. The nomination papers must be filed by the filing deadline but may be filed before the general election candidate filing period begins."
The deadline for state and federal candidates to file was August 17.