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Janice Weiner wins big in Iowa Senate District 45
With no Republican challenger, Weiner says she will spend coming months campaigning for other Democrats
IOWA CITY — Iowa City Council member Janice Weiner won a resounding victory Tuesday night in the Iowa Senate District 45 Democratic primary.
Since no Republican is running in the race, Weiner’s win with 86 percent of the vote, compared to 14 percent for John Raley, essentially decides the general election. District 45 includes Iowa City and University Heights.
“It never occurred to me I would win by a margin like this,” Weiner said Tuesday night from her watch party at Big Grove in Iowa City. “I’m really gratified, but it’s also a huge challenge. It’s a mandate to go out and work.”
Since Weiner, 64, of Iowa City, doesn’t have to campaign for herself, she plans to door knock and raise money for other Iowa Democrats between now and Nov. 8. She specifically mentioned campaigning for Sen. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, who will face Rep. Dawn Driscoll, R-Williamsburg, in the new Senate District 46.
“I’ll be talking with people statewide to see where my help is most needed,” she said.
Weiner grew up in Coralville and graduated from Iowa City West High School before leaving Iowa for Princeton University and later Stanford Law School. She served in the U.S. State Department, taking posts in Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Poland, Canada, Mexico and Washington, D.C.
She moved back to Iowa in 2015 and was elected to the Iowa City Council in 2019.
“I’ve gotten some really excellent experience on City Council,” Weiner said last month, calling out the council’s work distributing pandemic relief funds and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
But when Sen. Joe Bolkcom announced he would retire after leading this heavily-Democratic district for 24 years, Weiner decided she would get into the race.
Raley, 63, of Iowa City, is an insurance agent who has lived in Eastern Iowa for 44 years.
Weiner, who is president of the Agudas Achim synagogue in Coralville, said Tuesday night she’s thrilled to see Elinor Levin and Adam Zabner, who also are Jewish, win the Democratic primaries for House District 89 and 90, respectively.
“There hasn’t been a single Jew in the Iowa Legislature for almost three decades,“ she said. ”While I’m a firm believer in separation of church and state, representation matters.“
Weiner said she will work on key Democratic priorities, including reproductive rights, gun safety and child care.
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