For the past two years, ten women have served in the Iowa Senate (20 percent of the chamber’s membership). That number will fall to seven or eight by the time the newly-elected legislature begins its 2015 session.
However, the number of women who will serve in the Iowa House will grow from 25 to 27 for the next two years. Follow me after the jump for details and a full list of Democratic and Republican women who will serve in the newly-elected Iowa legislature.
Following up on prospects for increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the Iowa legislature, all five African-American state representatives were re-elected to the Iowa House this week: Helen Miller (House district 9), Ruth Ann Gaines (House district 32), Ako Abdul-Samad (House district 35), Deborah Berry (House district 62), and Phyllis Thede (House district 93). Neither party nominated any African-American candidates for the Iowa Senate, which remains all-white.
Iowans have yet to elect a Latino candidate to the state legislature. Democrats nominated Karyn Finn in House district 60 and Maria Bribriesco in Senate district 47, but both lost to Republican incumbents on Tuesday.
As has been the case since Swati Dandekar left the Iowa Senate in 2011, the Iowa legislature includes no Asian-American lawmakers. Neither party nominated any Asian-American candidates in 2014.
Five women state senators were not up for re-election in 2014, so will continue to serve through the 2016 legislative session: Republican Amy Sinclair (Senate district 14) and Democrats Janet Petersen (Senate district 18), Liz Mathis (Senate district 34), Mary Jo Wilhelm (Senate district 26), and Pam Jochum (Senate district 50).
Two Democratic women were re-elected to the Senate on Tuesday: Amanda Ragan (Senate district 27) and Rita Hart (Senate district 49). So at a minimum, seven women will serve in the new Iowa Senate.
Two Republican women retired from the Iowa Senate this year and will be replaced by men. Jason Schultz was the only candidate for the seat vacated by Nancy Boettger (Senate district 9). Kevin Kinney defeated Mike Moore for the seat vacated by Sandy Greiner (Senate district 39).
Republican Crystal Bruntz fell short in her bid to represent the open Senate district 15. Two Democratic challengers to male incumbents (Maria Bribriesco in Senate district 47 and Pam Deichmann in Senate district 13) also lost on Tuesday.
Republican Joni Ernst will leave the state legislature, having won the U.S. Senate race. Depending on who runs in safe Republican Senate district 12, an eighth woman could be elected to the Iowa Senate by January. Ernst’s predecessor representing that southwest Iowa territory in the Iowa Senate was Kim Reynolds, who left to become lieutenant governor. Reynolds’ predecessor in the Iowa Senate was Jeff Angelo.
If a man becomes the Republican nominee in Senate district 12, Amy Sinclair will be the only woman in the 24-member Iowa Senate GOP caucus. The Democratic majority will include 20 men and six women.
For the past two years, 25 women have served in the Iowa House. Only one of them retired this year: Anesa Kajtazovic, who sought the Democratic nomination in the first Congressional district. A woman will succeed her, as Timi Brown-Powers won a competitive Democratic primary in House district 61 and easily defeated her Republican opponent on Tuesday.
The other 24 women sought re-election to the Iowa House, and all were successful on Tuesday.
Newly re-elected Democratic women
Helen Miller (House district 9)
Deborah Berry (House district 62)
Ruth Ann Gaines (House district 32)
Marti Anderson (House district 36)
Jo Oldson (House district 41)
Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (House district 45)
Lisa Heddens (House district 46)
Sharon Steckman (House district 53)
Patti Ruff (House district 56)
Nancy Dunkel (House district 57)
Kirsten Running-Marquardt (House district 69)
Sally Stutsman (House district 77)
Mary Gaskill (House district 81)
Vicki Lensing (House district 85)
Mary Mascher (House district 86)
Cindy Winckler (House district 90)
Phyllis Thede (House district 93)
Mary Wolfe (House district 98)
Newly re-elected Republican women
Megan Jones (formerly Megan Hess, House district 2)
Mary Ann Hanusa (House district 16)
Linda Upmeyer (House district 54)
Sandy Salmon (House district 63)
Dawn Pettengill (House district 75)
Linda Miller (House district 94)
Two Democratic women won primaries in Iowa House districts being vacated by men. Liz Bennett will succeed Tyler Olson in House district 65, and Abby Finkenauer will succeed Pat Murphy in House district 99.
Democrats nominated eight women in other Iowa House districts this year; all lost to Republican incumbents on Tuesday.
Also this week, two Republican women lost their races again Democratic House incumbents. Jane Jech ran against Mark Smith in House district 71–for those keeping track, that’s four unsuccessful Iowa legislative races for Jech. Ronda Bern challenged John Forbes in House district 40.
To sum up, 27 women will be among the 100 Iowa House members for the next two years. There will be six women in the 57-member Republican majority and 21 women among 43 Democrats in the minority.