UPDATE: Iowa Republicans plan to choose another candidate to run in Senate District 34 against Democrat Liz Mathis, after Randi Shannon bailed on the race to pursue leadership in an alternate form of government.
Shannon, who describes herself as an entrepreneur and homeschooling mom, released a four-page message Friday saying she is now the senator of the Republic of the United States of America and the Republic for Iowa.
The group believes that America's original form of government, a collection of republics, was usurped in 1871 by a corporation called the United States Corporation, according to the group's website.
"Now, knowing this, and with the best interests of the people of Iowa District 34 uppermost in my heart and out of respect for my own conscience, I am here to announce that I am ending my campaign as of July 4," Shannon wrote in her statement. "My level of service to the good people of Iowa who has been so supportive of me and my campaign will be greatly increased."
LETTER FROM RANDI SHANNON (story continues below embed:
Shannon told The Gazette she knows some people may question her decision.
"If people think it's crazy to want to have a constitutional government back in place, then so be it," she said.
Shannon, 39, considered joining the Republic of the United States of America this spring after talking with Iowans disgusted by the lack of action in state and federal government.
"Every year we have these elections and every year more people get discouraged," Shannon said. "Nothing ever really seems to change."
She met with other leaders in the Republic of the United States of America and was appointed senator by the group's Iowa delegation, which includes four house members, treasurer, judge and governor.
The Iowa group's speaker of the house, George "Rowdy" Templer, of Davenport, said the group believes citizens have been burdened by the cost of the current government. The Republic of the United States of America would abolish federal taxes and require citizens to approve all state and local taxes.
"There are a lot of ways the people are being preyed upon by the current government," Templer said. "In the near term, our main efforts are to help people be aware there is a choice."
Linn County Republicans will hold a nominating convention in the next few weeks to select Shannon's replacement, said Don McDowell, spokesman for the office of the Iowa Senate Republican Leader.
"Randi made her decision. We're moving forward," he said. "We're quite confident the Linn County Republicans will find a suitable candidate to go toe-to-toe with Sen. Mathis."
McDowell doesn't think Shannon's shift to a more libertarian viewpoint reflects the direction of the Republican Party as a whole. "Absolutely not. This is a personal decision she made," he said.
Shannon had not yet filed her withdrawal with the Iowa Secretary of State's office as of Friday afternoon. The deadline for withdrawing from the election is Aug. 9. To select a new candidate, Linn County Republicans must hold a nominating convention and have their candidate file nomination papers by Aug. 17.District 34 includes Marion, Hiawatha, Robins and Linn County east of Cedar Rapids.