Iowa Senate Candidate Dies in Plane Crash

Investigation focuses on whether heavy rain played a role.

Doug Butzier, the libertarian candidate for Senate in Iowa, died Monday night after the plane he was piloting crashed near Dubuque Regional Airport.

Butzier's single-engine Piper PA-46 plane took off about 10 p.m. from Ankeny Regional Airport near Des Moines, the Federal Aviation Administration said, but missed its first approach to the runway in Dubuque, and crashed on its second attempt, KCRG reported.  Investigators from the NTSB and the FAA are trying to determine the cause of the crash, and whether heavy rain may have played a role. 

 Sarah Reisetter, Iowa's director of elections, said Butzier's name would remain on the ballot as the state had already begun early voting on September 25. 

"We have no statutory provisions that would allow for the removal of a candidate's name at this point in the election process," Reisetter said. 

A recent Suffolk University poll found Butzier attracting just 1 percent of the vote. The latest Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll found that the two leading candidates, Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley, are within a single point of each other. 

Ernst and Braley both released statements on Butzier's passing.

“I am deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about Dr. Doug Butzier," Ernst told KCCI News. "I appreciated Doug’s willingness to contribute to this important election. In addition to representing Libertarians in this campaign, Doug served his community as an ER doctor and medical leader. Gail and I will keep Doug’s family in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn their untimely loss.”

"I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden and tragic death of Doug Butzier," Braley's statement read. "I have enormous respect for anyone who puts their name forward as a candidate for public office. Carolyn and I send our thoughts and prayers to Dr. Butzier's wife and family during this difficult time.” 

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