Government

GOP Iowa House seat flips to Democrat Molly Donahue

Corridor incumbent representatives far well in election

Molly Donahue, Democratic candidate for State Representative District 68, watches results with state Sen. Liz Mathis during an election night watch party at Chrome Horse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Molly Donahue, Democratic candidate for State Representative District 68, watches results with state Sen. Liz Mathis during an election night watch party at Chrome Horse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Incumbents won out Tuesday night in Iowa House races in districts in and near Linn and Johnson counties, with Democrats taking open districts.

Democrat Molly Donahue was elected to House District 68, replacing Ken Rizer, a Republican who retired after one term. He had beat Donahue in 2016 in that district.

Donahue, 51, is a behavior disabilities teacher in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She won out over Republican Randy Ray.

Ray, 62, is a retired teacher who also taught in Cedar Rapids public schools, as well at Regis Middle, a Catholic school in Cedar Rapids.

Donahue’s district includes eastern Marion as well as Bertram, Ely and Putnam.

In eight Iowa House districts in and near Linn and Johnson counties, five Democrats and three Republicans were elected.

Incumbents were on the ballot in six of those races — and all six were reelected.

Terms in the House are for two years, and representatives are paid $25,000 annually.

District 65

Democrat Liz Bennett, 36, comfortably held her seat against Republican challenger George Olmsted, 66, a retired economics professor. Bennett works in internet sales and support.

The district includes much of downtown Cedar Rapids and residential neighborhoods on the southeast side.

District 66

Democrat Art Staed, 69, also cruised past Republican Teresa Daubitz, 52, a social worker. Staed, a retired educator and the incumbent, represents the northeast Cedar Rapids area.

District 67

Republican Ashley Hinson, 35, a consultant and former KCRG-TV anchor, was re-elected to a second term.

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Democrat Eric Gjerde, a 39-year-old special education teacher at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, fell short by a few points.

District 69

Democrat Kirsten Running-Marquardt, 41, easily kept her seat against Joshua Henderson, 34, a construction worker who ran as an independent.

The district covers southwest Cedar Rapids.

District 70

A seat previously held by Democrat Todd Taylor — who left his House seat to run for Senate District 35 — remained in Democratic control after being won by Tracy Ehlert. Ehlert, 40, owns and operates an early childhood education program.

She easily surpassed her Libertarian opponent, Myra Matejka, 41, a stay-at-home mom.

The district encompasses much of northwest Cedar Rapids.

District 73

Republican Bobby Kaufmann, 33, held his seat against Democrat Jodi Clemens, 36, a small-business owner and licensed financial representative.

The district includes Solon, Tipton, West Branch and Wilton.

District 95

Republican Louie Zumbach, 53, a fourth-generation farmer and small business owner, was reelected. He defeated Democrat Christian Andrews, 44, a Mount Vernon public works employee.

The district includes portions of northern and eastern Linn County, including Center Point and Mount Vernon, and parts of southeastern Buchanan County.

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