The Iowa Senate’s Republican leader is stepping down from the post amid bickering over the way a state senate race has been run. 

Democrats occupy 25 of the seats in the Iowa Senate; Republicans hold the other 24. There’s a special election in Linn County next week for a seat held by a Democrat who resigned to take a job in Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s administration. If Republicans win the seat, the Iowa Senate will have 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats — a tie.

Several Republicans in the senate openly accused Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley of failing to raise money and plot strategy for that race. In late September, Senator Bill Dix of Shell Rock abandoned his bid to force McKinley out in a leadership election. Now, McKinley has not only announced that he does not intend to seek reelection to the senate in 2012, McKinley announced he’ll voluntarily step aside next week and let Republicans choose another leader.

In a written statement, McKinley said he has decided it’s time to “move on to a new chapter of life…and spend more time with his grandchildren.” 

McKinley was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2000. He was elected Senate Republican Leader in November of 2008. Republicans must now recruit a candidate to run in 2012 for the senate district that includes the city of Chariton, where McKinley lives.