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Candidate Profile: Merlin Bartz

The Republican Party of Iowa sat down with Iowa State Senator Merlin Bartz, who is running for re-election this year.

Merlin Bartz is a sixth generation family farmer, community leader and state legislator running in Senate District 26, which includes all of Worth, Mitchell, Howard, Floyd and Chickasaw Counties as well as Falls, Portland, Owen and Dougherty townships in Cerro Gordo County and Fremont, Burr Oak, Orleans, Bluffton, Lincoln and Madison townships in Winneshiek County.

He is former factory line worker and USDA employee and he and his wife Lisa and I have three children and own and operate a sixth generation Iowa family farm northwest of Grafton, which grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa.  They are members of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Grafton, where Merlin has directed the choir and currently teach seventh and eighth grade Sunday school.

Tell us a little about your education and civic background

I am a 1979 graduate of St. Ansgar High School and a 1983 Luther College graduate and have also attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Darden School of Business for leadership training.

I am a current or former member of the Lutheran Social Service board, BIOWA board, Worth County Historical Society, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Cattleman’s Association, Worth County Farm Bureau, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers, NRA, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and Iowa Parks Foundation. I have also performed for over 35 years in North and Northeast Iowa with various dance bands, including the Marc Frana Band, The Grafton Boys, and Malek’s Fisherman.



What is unique about your race this year?

My race is the only senator versus senator race on the ballot this November. I am challenging Democrat Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm of Cresco and since both sides are trying to win control of the Senate, obviously parties are interested in this race.



What issues are you campaigning on this fall?

My campaign is focused on putting more Iowans back to work, removing barriers to job creation and giving our kids the best education they can possibly get. Government belongs to the people and we need representation in Des Moines that will listen to the people who elected us to do their work.



What have you been doing to campaign and how can Republicans get involved in helping you win?

I have been working hard to raise money, am knocking on thousands of doors and have done dozens of parades and attended hundreds of community events. I refuse to be outworked and I think my message of more opportunities for Iowans is resonating.  I certainly welcome any volunteers to come make phone calls, put up yard signs and knock on doors.  If you can help me win, please contact Matt Leopold at