October 26, 2021

U.S. Senate candidate killed in plane crash

An Iowa candidate for U.S. Senate was killed when his small plane crashed Monday night near Dubuque Regional Airport in Iowa. Dr. Doug Butzier was running for the Senate as the Libertarian candidate against Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley. Butzier’s family confirmed to local media that Butzier, 59, was the pilot, and no one else was aboard the plane when it went down. U.S. Senate candidate Doug Butzier, left, of Dubuque, Iowa

The family released the following statement about the crash: “Dr. Butzier’s aircraft (is) here on Military Road. He was alone in the plane. Doug was an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital. He was also running for U.S. Senate in the Libertarian party. “Doug touched many lives and will be truly missed by all who knew him. The family requests privacy at this time.” Scene of the plane crash that killed U.S. Senate candidate Doug Butzier

Butzier had said on his campaign website, drdougforiowa.com, he was running for Senate to try to rein in the national debt and to fight Obamacare. He was a strong advocate for gun rights, stating: “The Second Amendment is not there to protect the interest of hunters, sports shooters and casual plinkers. The Second Amendment is there as a balance of power. It is there to guarantee the people the power to throw off the shackles of an oppressive government.” Butzier never held any political office previously. “I was just sitting in there watching TV and all that I heard was an airplane going vrrrmmm – boom! Blew up, came up and seen big ole flames on the neighbor’s yard,” plane-crash witness Jeremy Becker told KCRG-TV. Lynn Lunsford, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the Piper PA-46 crashed around 11 p.m. Monday on approach to the airport, about a mile north of the runway. Senate candidate Dr. Doug Butzier with his plane in Mason City, Iowa. The plane had taken off from Ankeny Regional Airport about an hour before the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the tragedy. Butzier was reportedly using the plane for campaign appearances across Iowa. Joni Ernst, the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate candidate, issued the following statement about the crash: “I am deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about Dr. Doug Butzier. 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.” Bruce Braley, the Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate candidate, issued the following statement about the crash: “I’m shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden and tragic death of Doug Butzier. 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.” “He was a great guy,” family friend Tom Schreiber told KWWL. “He was one of the best friends I ever had. He was just a wonderful man.” Mercy staff also issued a statement noting they were “stunned and saddened” as they came to work and learned of the death of Butzier, who was president of the medical staff and a member of the Mercy Board of Trustees. “Dr. Butzier was one of the pillars of the emergency department for the past 17 years,” said Russell Knight, Mercy President and CEO, in a written statement. “His influence was felt throughout the hospital, as he led one of our key quality-improvement teams with skill, knowledge, and enthusiasm, helping to produce the outstanding results Mercy has become known for. He was a leader among his peers, and we will all miss his strong, intelligent, thoughtful presence, and we express our collective condolences to Doug’s family, friends, and colleagues.” The crash came one day after Mitt Romney campaigned for Ernst, telling a joke concerning President Obama trying to prove his identity: