Sarah Trone Garriott challenging Charles Schneider in Iowa Senate district 22

A second Democrat announced her candidacy this week in an Iowa Senate district that will be a top target next year.

Sarah Trone Garriott is an ordained Lutheran pastor who has served for nearly two years as Coordinator of Interfaith Engagement for the non-profit Des Moines Area Religious Council. Her campaign is on the web and on Twitter and Facebook at SarahforIowa. A news release enclosed in full below says that since moving to Iowa in 2014, Garriott “has watched as priorities that are most important to most Iowans — good schools, clean water, accessible healthcare, economic opportunity, civil rights — were undermined by current State Senator Charles Schneider and others leading the Legislature.”

“As a parent of two sons, I know the difference it would make if our state adequately supported child care and public education,” she said. “Too many Iowans are facing unaffordable housing, stagnant wages, and regressive policies that have discouraged people from staying in our state or kept them moving to Iowa. As a pastor, I saw neighbors struggle to make ends meet, finding little access to the care and resources they need to thrive. And as a non-profit leader, I know that real change only happens when our state leaders work collaboratively with non-profits, business leaders, and citizens.”

Although Schneider was easily re-elected in 2016, Senate district 22 should be highly competitive next year for the following reasons (discussed in more detail here):

  • This part of the western suburbs of Des Moines (see map enclosed below) is one of only four Iowa Senate districts where Hillary Clinton’s share of the presidential vote in 2016 was higher than Barack Obama’s in 2012.
  • The Republican advantage in voter registrations here is much smaller now than it was in previous election cycles when Schneider was on the ballot.
  • Democrats won both Iowa House seats that are part of Senate district 22 in the 2018 general election.
  • Whereas Schneider was a relatively powerless member of the minority caucus last time he faced re-election, he now has a polarizing record to defend. As Senate majority whip in 2017 and Senate president (the second-ranking position) since March 2018, Schneider has supported every major bill passed since the GOP gained total control of state government. Laws he helped enact eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public workers (harming a large number of Senate district 22 residents) and would have banned almost all abortions if Iowa courts had not stepped in to uphold the constitution.
  • Schneider will take several advantages into next year’s race. Beating an sitting legislator is usually harder than winning an open seat. State Representatives Jennifer Konfrst and Kenan Judge did not have to face incumbents in their successful 2018 campaigns for House districts 43 and 44.

    A former West Des Moines city council member, Schneider starts the campaign with higher name recognition than his challengers. He doesn’t try to be quoted in the news often–to my knowledge, Senate Republican leaders did not hold any press conferences during the 2019 legislative session. But Schneider is often out and about at various community events. He also is more responsive to constituent e-mails than some Republican lawmakers (like former GOP State Representative Peter Cownie, who lost his 2018 re-election bid in a nearby suburban Iowa House district).

    Schneider has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from major Republican donors and corporate political action committees, so he will have almost unlimited money to spend defending his seat. In addition, he can stockpile his campaign funds for the next year, while his Democratic opponents may need to use a large portion of what they raise in the coming months before the June 2020 primary.

    Tricia Gavin announced her candidacy in Senate district 22 earlier this month. You can find more information about her on her campaign’s website and Facebook page.

    Bleeding Heartland is unlikely to endorse in the primary to represent the district where I live and have voted for my entire adult life. From my perspective, multiple Democrats working to identify and mobilize supporters before next June should help build a strong database of like-minded voters and potential volunteers for the 2020 general election. Good luck to Gavin and Garriott, and to anyone else who may join the field before the filing deadline next March. May the best Democrat win.

    Launch video for Sarah Trone Garriott:

    June 27 news release:

    Sarah Trone Garriott enters race in Iowa Senate District 22

    Sarah Trone Garriott, a community leader and pastor, is entering the race in Iowa Senate District 22.

    “I have always felt called to serve my neighbors, my community and my country,” Sarah said. “Whether as an AmeriCorps Volunteer helping victims of domestic violence, as a hospital chaplain caring for people during times of crisis or as a Lutheran minister providing leadership to communities of faith, I wanted to serve.”

    She added: “After talking with friends and neighbors about what’s happening with the current leaders in the Iowa Capitol, I am running to provide new leadership to the Iowa Senate that focuses on the real problems facing families, workers, students, seniors, veterans and others living in Senate District 22.”

    Senate District 22 includes Windsor Heights, Clive and portions of the cities of Waukee, West Des Moines.

    Sarah now serves as an interfaith leader for a non-profit organization, bringing people together around the issue of providing food assistance and caring for our neighbors. She is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, but is often found on Sundays preaching at congregations throughout the metro area. She has served on the board of directors at Luther Park Community since 2016, is a member of the advisory board for Unity Point’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program, and assisted Lutheran Services in Iowa as part of their fund development committee. She is a graduate of the 2019 Emerge IA Candidate training program. Her family lives in Windsor Heights and their children attend the West Des Moines public schools.

    Sarah and her husband Will have lived in rural communities, big cities, and small towns. Like many Iowans, they moved to this state to build a better life for their family.

    Since 2014, she has watched as priorities that are most important to most Iowans — good schools, clean water, accessible healthcare, economic opportunity, civil rights — were undermined by current State Senator Charles Schneider and others leading the Legislature.

    She recognizes the challenges that are facing our state and is inspired to step up in a new leadership role for the people of Iowa.

    “As a parent of two sons, I know the difference it would make if our state adequately supported child care and public education,” she said. “Too many Iowans are facing unaffordable housing, stagnant wages, and regressive policies that have discouraged people from staying in our state or kept them moving to Iowa. As a pastor, I saw neighbors struggle to make ends meet, finding little access to the care and resources they need to thrive. And as a non-profit leader, I know that real change only happens when our state leaders work collaboratively with non-profits, business leaders, and citizens.”
    More information is available at SarahForIowa.com.

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