Des Moines, Iowa —
Senator Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) called a meeting Thursday in order to have his GOP colleagues in Iowa meet to discuss a special Nov. 8 election to fill the seat in the Iowa Senate held formerly by Democrat Swati Dandekar. Dandekar was recently appointed by Govenor Terry Branstad to the Iowa Utilities Board. Dix also called for a vote to remove the party leader, Senator Paul McKinley (Chariton). A vote of this type is usually seen after general elections, but may indicate struggles between key members of the GOP in Iowa. The vote, however, was canceled.
In an email, Dix said, “In full disclosure, I will also be calling for a leadership election”, which surprised many in the party. McKinley is out of the country on a trip with his wife, leading many to say that the vote was unfair. Dix wasn’t specific that he was spearheading a measure to remove McKinley directly, but many in the party felt it was his intention.
Senator Brad Zaun (Urbandale), an assistant GOP leader opposed the vote, saying, “I think that the right decision was made because we need to make sure that every senator has the opportunity to vote on leadership.”
The upcoming special election is set to give state Republicans an opportunity to make the Iowa Senate evenly held by Democrats and Republicans (50 total seats). Democratic leaders, however, feel that they will retain the lead and hold the Senate majority.
Matt Dummermuth of Robins, who served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 2007 to 2009, has joined the race for the Republican nomination to fill the empty senate seat.
Democrat Liz Mathis of Robins, a television anchor for KWWL in Waterloo and recently at KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids, announced she will run for the same seat.
In addition to Dummermuth, Cedar Rapids businesswomen Cindy Golding and Mary Rathje, are seeking the nomination.
The deadline for candidates to get on the ballot is Oct. 14.
Senate District 18 covers all of t Marion, Fairfax, Palo, Hiawatha, Robins, Alburnett, Center Point, Walker, Coggon, Prairieburg and part of Walford.
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