Iowa Senate district 13 special election set; Democrat Mark Davitt is running

Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation today setting the special election to fill Iowa Senate district 13 for Tuesday, November 19. Republican State Senator Kent Sorenson resigned last week after special investigator Mark Weinhardt delivered an exhaustive report about Sorenson’s alleged malfeasance to the Iowa Senate.

I highly recommend looking through Weinhardt’s report (here are links to volume 1 and part 2). It astounds me that Sorenson is posturing as the victim of a “straight-up political witch hunt.” Exhibit 12 in this part of Weinhardt’s report summarizes an interview with Susan Geddes, who managed Sorenson’s Iowa House campaign in 2008 and Iowa Senate campaign in 2010. She repeatedly warned Sorenson that he could not be paid by the Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign under Iowa Senate rules, and that the truth would catch up with him.

Republican blogger Craig Robinson discussed “winners and losers” in the Sorenson ordeal here. I largely agree with his list, but I would put Senate Minority leader Bill Dix in the loser category, as well as Senate Ethics Committee Republicans Jack Whitver and Jerry Behn. If they’d had their way, Weinhardt would never have been appointed to look into Sorenson’s wrongdoing. Speaking of ethics, it is customary to link to a blog post when you mention it. Robinson referred to, but failed to link to, this Bleeding Heartland post about the legal problems of Sorenson’s attorney, Ted Sporer.

Former Iowa House Democrat Mark Davitt announced today that he will run in the Senate district 13 special election. I’ve posted his press release after the jump. Davitt was born in Madison County and represented most of Warren County in the Iowa House for three terms before losing his seat to Sorenson in 2008. Republican State Representative Julian Garrett is running, but I expect at least one other person to seek the Republican nomination for the special election.

I enclosed a map of Senate district 13 after the jump. As of October 1, the district contained 13,293 registered Democrats, 15,013 Republicans, and 15,909 no-party voters.

Iowa Senate district 13 photo IowaSD13_zps78721fdd.jpg

For Immediate Release: October 7th, 2013

Davitt announces for Iowa Senate

Mark Davitt, a small business owner from Indianola, said he will seek Iowa Senate District 13 in an upcoming special election. District 13 includes all of Madison County and Warren County, excluding the city of Norwalk.

Davitt, a Democrat, was born in Winterset and served six years in the Iowa House. He says if elected, he will build on both his main street experience and his work at the State Capitol to bring good-paying jobs and economic stability to the people, communities and businesses in Warren and Madison Counties.

“FIrst and foremost, I will listen to the people in my district,” said Davitt. “I will knock on their doors, talk to them on their front porches and find out what their ideas and concerns are for district 13, just as I have always done.”

“I believe there’s too much bickering and playing politics up in Des Moines,” he said. “We just need to get back to the work of representing the people.”

Davitt said, if elected, he will work with local communities, businesses and individuals to give Iowans access to good paying jobs and help local economies grow.

“Its important that we continue to have thriving small-town communities in Iowa,” said Davitt. “Not just for our local businesses, but for the sake of our schools too.

“I have two great kids and a wonderful wife. And just like everyone else, we are very concerned about the condition of both our main streets and our local schools. And about how important it is to ensure that those schools are offering world-class education so that our children can compete for great jobs and careers in the future.”

Davitt, the son of Phil and Theo Davitt, was born in Winterset and grew up on the family farm in rural Martensdale and St. Marys. He farmed with his father and brothers for many years before going to work at the Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune, where he served as a photographer, operations manager and editor. Davitt also owned a newspaper in Sully, Iowa, before serving three terms in the Iowa House. Currently, Davitt owns and operates Davitt Photo Alliance, which specializes in commercial photography. Davitt also works in non-profit advocacy.

Davitt is a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Indianola, the Knights of Columbus and the Indianola Lions Club. He serves as an elected member of the Warren County Extension Council and has been a member of Warren County Farm Bureau. He and his wife, Amy Duncan, have two children, Elizabeth, 16, and Duncan, 14, who attend Indianola Community Schools.

  • Rep. Garrett

    Rep Garrett was on the Iowa Dept of Human Rights Board with me for about a year.  He was fine with all the LGBT/social justice things during our strategic planning so I’d honestly be surprised to see him win a primary.  Things including marriage equality, immigration (standard things republican primary candidates oppose)  

    We discussed things like restorative justice and for a state rep to be in agreement with that I was always shocked.  I don’t know if his personal opinion is okay vs public perception.  But he was always vocal on other things so it definitely wasn’t him just being quiet or not into the conversation.  

    • he may have a better chance

      at a special district nominating convention than he would in a primary. But I would assume that the delegates to that nominating convention would skew far-right, like primary voters would.

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