Democrats to run new candidate in Iowa Senate district 13

Two-term State Senator Roger Stewart of Preston announced last week that he will not seek re-election in Iowa Senate district 13 next year. On Monday Ed O’Neill of Clinton confirmed that he will seek the Democratic nomination for this seat. It’s not clear yet whether there will be a contested primary. Stewart helped recruit O’Neill for this race, and he seems like a strong candidate:

O’Neill works for the Clinton Regional Development Corporation, where he focuses his energy on the creation and retention of high-wage jobs, the press release says. He previously was a small business owner, police officer, and a finance and lease manager.

“I know first-hand the difficulties small and large businesses face each day,” O’Neill said. “I’m sick and tired of seeing Wall Street corporations – not Main Street businesses – get the attention of politicians. I will work for a more even playing field that encourages economic development and creates good jobs in our local communities.”

He added: “Solving problems means listening and reaching out to everyone involved. That’s what I’ve done as an active member of my community, and that’s the positive approach I will take to the Iowa Senate.”

O’Neill also previously served as a member of the Clinton City Council and Hancock County (Illinois) Board of Supervisors. He has been active in various community activities, including serving as a board member of the Prince of Peace Academy School Board and attending Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Iowa Senate district 13 (map) includes all of Jackson County and parts of Dubuque and Clinton counties. It’s fairly strong Democratic territory; in 2006, Chet Culver easily beat Jim Nussle in these counties, even though they were part of the Congressional district Nussle represented. Stewart won re-election to the Iowa Senate with just under 65 percent of the vote against Republican Lametta Wynn.

On the other hand, an open seat is usually an inviting target, and the unemployment rate in Jackson and Clinton counties is nearly 8 percent. I’ll be surprised if Republicans don’t make a major push in this district, even though it’s not going to be one of their top Iowa Senate pickup opportunities.

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