According to the Dubuque County Sheriff Office, the crash took place near Dubuque Regional airport and Dr. Douglas Butzier was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the sole occupant of the Piper PA 46-310P, a six-seater, single-engine aircraft.

Iowa U.S. Senate Candidate Killed In Plane Crash

Iowa U.S. senate candidate Butzier: A glittering career

Butzier, 59, worked at Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque. In addition to his normal duties, he was also president of the medical staff and a member of the Mercy Board of Trustees.

The doctor was running for U.S. Senate as the Libertarian candidate, in the closely watched race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. The two main contenders are Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst, with a recent Des Moines Register poll showing Braley taking 46% to Ernst’s 47%. 3% of respondents selected “someone else.”

Both Braley and Ernst have released statements speaking of their sadness at the news of Butzier’s death.

Condolences to Iowa U.S. senate candidate Butzier’s family

“He was an outstanding individual, an emergency room doctor, an outstanding citizen, politician, and a great guy,” said Libertarian Party of Iowa Chairman Keith Laube. “Our condolences go out to his family.”

Further information as to why the plane crashed has not been forthcoming. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the plane had taken off from Ankeny Regional Airport around one hour before the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate.

“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,” stated hospital president and CEO Russell Knight.

Butzier joins the list of high-profile U.S. politicians who have died in plane crashes while running for Senate, including Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), Gov. Mel Carnahan (D-Mo.), Rep. Jerry Litton (D-Mo.) and Virginia GOP chairman Richard Obenshain.