State Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix has resigned after a video of him kissing a woman in a Des Moines bar was published by an online blog.
In a statement released Monday, Dix, a Republican, said, “I resign my position as Iowa State Senator and Majority Leader effective at 2 p.m. today, March 12, 2018.”
Senate President Jack Whitver released a similar statement, adding that, “I believe he made the right decision for himself and for his district, but most importantly, I believe he made the decision in the best interest of his family.”
In his statement, Whitver said Senate Republicans will hold an election on Wednesday to fill Dix's role as Majority Leader.
The statements came hours after a grainy video showing Dix, of Shell Rock, sitting at a bar talking to and kissing a woman appeared on the blog Iowa Starting Line. The blog suggested the woman was a lobbyist for various municipal interests. Neither Dix's or Whitver's statement mention the video.
Dix, who according to his online Senate biography is married with three teenage children, served five two-year terms in the Iowa House, and later won a seat in the Iowa Senate in Senate District 9 in 2010. He was re-elected to serve Senate District 25 in 2014. According to the Iowa Secretary of State's office, he had not yet filed for re-election. The filing deadline for the June primary is Friday at 5 p.m.
Senate District 25 covers a wide area of eastern Story County, including Story City and Roland.
Dix's resignation comes several months after the Iowa Senate paid a $1.75 million settlement to a former Senate Republican staffer, who alleged she was fired after filing a complaint of a toxic work environment caused by sexual harassment in 2013. The case and resulting settlement led to calls for Dix's resignation, and it was also the focus of a statement from Senate Minority Leader Janet Peterson.
“There is a reckoning in our country on the issue of harassment in the workplace. The new Senate Republican leader should be someone who will hold Republican senators and staff accountable for their actions in the Kirsten Anderson case and take steps immediately to address this issue,” her statement read in part.
Rick Sanders, Republican chairman of the Story County Board of Supervisors, said he was “shocked” by the video and Dix's resignation.
“I don't get really, really stunned all that often. I'm stunned by this,” Sanders said.
Both Sanders and Dix spoke at the Story County Republican Convention over the weekend.
Brett Barker, the mayor of Nevada and chairman of the Story County GOP, echoed Sanders.
“I'm just shocked and extremely disappointed,” he said. “… In general, it shows severe lack of judgment, and I just feel for his family during this time.”
Tim Gartin, an Ames City Councilman and Republican candidate for state Senate in 2010, said he wasn't immediately aware of Monday's development, but condemned Dix's behavior as inappropriate for any state official.
“As a Republican, I feel that I need to particularly stress the importance of setting a high bar of conduct,” said Gartin, who abstains from active membership in the state or county GOP while sitting on the council. “I had not heard about this news, but I'm extremely disappointed.”
When asked if the video will negatively affect the state party's image, Gartin said voters will likely tie Dix's behavior with the previous settlement.
“I certainly think that people will make that connection,” he said.
The Ames Tribune's reporters Austin Cannon and Dan Mika contributed information to this story.