MASON CITY – Steve Minert, President of Mason City Harley-Davidson, inc., who also serves as the chairman of the Cerro Gordo county Compensation Board, ended months of speculation today by announcing he won’t run for the Iowa Senate seat held by state Senator Amanda Ragan. Last month, some top Republican operatives from Des Moines traveled to Mason City and to Clear Lake, to discuss a Minert candidacy with him. Several north Iowa GOP insiders and Democrats have told NorthIowaToday.com that they believe Mr. Minert would have the upper hand in a race against Ragan.
“It’s an honor to even be urged to seek this office,” Minert told N.I.T. “But my family is, and always has been, my top priority. I won’t go into details now, but we have some serious health concerns regarding a close family member.
I also have a dealership to run, and my son is still at home. Maybe in the future I’ll seek public office. But it won’t be in 2018.”
Mr. Minert is a graduate of NIACC and the University of Northern Iowa, where he majored in political science. He has served on the Compensation Board since 2015. In 2016, Minert defeated its long-time chairman, former Mason City Mayor Tom Jolas, in the election for chairman of the Board. The ‘Comp Board’, as it’s known, possesses, by the Code of Iowa, the authority to set the salaries of all of county elected officials. Minert and his father, Ron Minert, own Harley-Davidson dealerships in Mason City and Charles City. Their Mason City franchise is Iowa’s largest motorcycle dealership, in terms of sales and the value of its inventory.
When Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Senator Chuck Grassley, and the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, Linda Upmeyer, were recently in Clear Lake, Minert was being urged to oppose Ragan. Amanda Ragan has won five elections to Senate district #27 since 2002, and is undefeated. Republicans throughout north Iowa and elsewhere have been urging Minert to run, and political observers from both parties believe he would be Sen. Ragan’s strongest possible opponent.
NorthIowaToday.com contacted a longtime Democratic party activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity. This Democrat said, “Steve Minert would be Amanda’s worst nightmare. Unlike any other north Iowa Republican, he’d draw support from Democrats, Independents, blue-collar workers, and Union members, much like President Trump. Amanda is very lucky that he’s not running in ‘18.”