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Deb VanderGaast, Kerry Gruenhagen lead in Senate 41 open seat race
Democrat Deb VanderGaast of Tipton will face Republican Kerry Gruenhagen of Walcott for an open seat in Senate District 41, which covers Cedar County and parts of northern Muscatine County and eastern Scott County.
In the Democratic primary, with all three counties reporting, VanderGaast, 53, a registered nurse and owner of a child care center for children with special needs, led Nikole Tutton of Mechanicsville with 1,739 votes to 606.
Tutton said she was inspired to run for office by the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Her priorities include jobs, “livable” wages and reducing income disparity.
In the Republican primary, Gruenhagen won with 2.067 votes to 1,427 for Alan Weets of Mechanicsville.
While Gruenhagen and Weets, both 33, shared some priorities, they disagreed on Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposed Education Savings Accounts that would send more public dollars to non-public schools.
Weets doubted the proposal would solve problems facing rural schools. Gruenhagen said he supported private school tuition vouchers without reservation.
VanderGaast’s priorities are public education, child care, poverty, health care, disability, equality and equity and small business issues.
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