The last two Democratic candidates in Iowa Senate district 41 will seek the nomination for a January 26 special election. Steve Siegel and Mary Stewart announced their plans on January 2. Delegates will select the Democratic candidate at a district nominating convention scheduled for January 7.
Republican State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks resigned from the legislature this week in order to be sworn in as the U.S. House representative for Iowa's second district. Bleeding Heartland reviewed the political landscape in Senate district 41 here.
Siegel was a social worker for the Iowa Department of Human resources for 20 years, during which time he was a union representative with AFSCME, and served as a Wapello County supervisor from 1997 to 2017. As the challenger in Senate district 41 in 2014, he lost to Republican State Senator Mark Chelgren by by 374 votes (50.8 percent to 48.9 percent).
In a January 2 Facebook post, Siegel wrote, "Given recent voting patterns in the District, this will be a difficult seat for the Democrats to win, unless we run a different kind of campaign." He attached a document outlining his priority issues: legalizing recreational marijuana, using COVID-19 relief funds "as intended," fully funding education, expanding collective bargaining rights, raising the minimum wage, reversing Medicaid privatization, cleaning up polluted waterways, and reducing abortions by restoring state funding to Planned Parenthood.
Mary Stewart retired as administrator from Indian Hills Community College following a 33-year career in education. Chelgren had opted not to seek a third term, and after winning a competitive Democratic primary, Stewart lost to Miller-Meeks by 808 votes (51.7 percent to 48.1 percent).
In a January 2 Facebook post, Stewart wrote, "I am committed to winning this seat and as a seasoned candidate I believe I can."
Former Iowa House Democrat Phil Miller told Bleeding Heartland in a January 2 telephone interview that he had considered running in the upcoming special election but decided to back Stewart upon learning of her plans. Miller formerly represented House district 82, which makes up half of the Senate district Miller-Meeks is vacating. During the 2018 campaign, he and Stewart worked closely together and appeared at many of the same campaign events.
Miller also spoke highly of Siegel, saying he has a lot of experience and would make a great senator as well. But he is endorsing Stewart for the nomination.