Adrian Dickey's win highlights Iowa Democrats' trouble in mid-sized counties

Republican Adrian Dickey will represent Iowa Senate district 41 for the next two years, with unofficial results showing him winning the January 26 special election by 5,040 votes to 4,074 for Democrat Mary Stewart (55.3 percent to 44.7 percent). The victory gives the GOP a 32 to 18 majority in the Iowa Senate.

Stewart led the early vote in her home county of Wapello (Ottumwa area) and in Jefferson County, which contains Democratic-leaning Fairfield as well as Dickey’s home town of Packwood. But even a massive snowstorm on the eve of the election couldn’t stop Dickey from overtaking her in Wapello.

Continue Reading...

Flipping the Iowa Senate blue: Step 1

Tim Nelson is a Democratic digital strategist. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa legislature been in session for less than a week, and Republicans have already introduced bills that would reinstate the death penalty, pave the way for future abortion bans, and forcibly out trans students to their parents.

Republican State Senator Zach Whiting (a former staffer for U.S. Representative Steve King) compared peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors at the Iowa capitol last June to the armed, violent insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

It has only been a few days and Republicans have demonstrated they shouldn’t be in charge of either chamber.

Continue Reading...

Adrian Dickey, Mary Stewart to face off in Iowa Senate district 41

Republican Adrian Dickey will face Democrat Mary Stewart in the January 26 special election to represent Iowa Senate district 41. Activists from both parties selected the candidates at nominating conventions on January 7. Dickey prevailed over former State Senator Mark Chelgren, who represented this part of southeast Iowa for two terms before retiring in 2018. Stewart, the most recent Democratic candidate in this district, competed for the nomination with former Wapello County Supervisor Steve Siegel, who ran for the seat in 2014.

Continue Reading...

First look at the Iowa Senate district 41 special election

UPDATE: Republicans selected Adrian Dickey and Democrats selected Mary Stewart at special nominating conventions on January 7. Original post follows.

Voters in a battleground southeast Iowa Senate district will soon choose a successor to Republican State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed on December 30 that the House will seat Miller-Meeks, who was certified the winner by six votes in Iowa’s second Congressional district. The same day, Miller-Meeks confirmed that she is resigning from the Iowa legislature, effective January 2.

To my knowledge, no candidate has announced plans to run in Senate district 41 early next year. During a December 30 telephone interview, Democrat Mary Stewart said she was considering the race but had no timetable for deciding. Miller-Meeks defeated Stewart in 2018 by 11,460 votes to 10,652 (51.7 percent to 48.1 percent).

Former Republican State Senator Mark Chelgren represented the district for eight years, retiring in 2018. He hadn’t heard about Miller-Meeks’ resignation before speaking to Bleeding Heartland by phone on December 30. Chelgren said he would consider running for the Senate again but wasn’t ready to give a formal statement, since he hadn’t discussed the matter with his family or Republican colleagues.

Though recent voting patterns in the area favor Republicans, turnout for a mid-winter special election is a question mark.

Continue Reading...

Lessons of 2018: Ending straight-ticket voting didn't change much

Fifth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2018 state and federal elections.

Republicans ended straight-ticket voting in Iowa last year as part of a law imposing several new barriers for voters. For months, I’ve been trying to work out how eliminating that option would affect this year’s outcome.

More than 400,000 Iowans filled in the Democratic or Republican oval on their 2014 general election ballot, which worked out to roughly 37 percent of those who participated. I expected a much larger “undervote” for lower-profile statewide offices or legislative races this year, as many who would have voted straight ticket marked their ballots for governor and Congress alone.

That didn’t happen.

Continue Reading...
View More...