Government

UI law professor Christina Bohannan defeats Rep. Lensing in Iowa House primary

Bohannan wins in landslide, says 'we need more from our representatives'

For the first time in two decades, someone other than Vicki Lensing will represent northern Iowa City in the Iowa House starting in 2021.

Christina Bohannan, a University of Iowa law professor, pulled off a landslide over incumbent Lensing in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. There is no Republican challenger for the Nov. 3 general election.

“This is such an incredible honor to serve Iowa City,” Bohannan said. “I love this city. I love the people I’ve been talking to. I probably made a thousand calls myself.”

ELECTION RESULTS: See primary results from other county and state races

In Iowa House District 85, there are 13,314 registered Democrats, 2,818 registered Republicans and 4,609 registered voters without a party affiliation, state data shows.

Lensing and Bohannan agreed on a variety of issues, ranging from child care to environmental protections. They also both strongly supported state funding for education, including the UI. Bohannan teaches law at the UI, and Lensing studied journalism and French there.

But Bohannan argued for a more progressive and less defensive attitude in the Iowa House, where Democrats are in the minority.

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“I think people realized that we are in a difficult time and that we are facing tremendous challenges,” Bohannan said. “We need more from our representatives.”

In Lensing’s 20 years in the House, Democrats have been in the majority for only four years.

Bohannan picked up endorsements from several current and former Johnson County officials, a rarity for a primary challenge against a 20-year incumbent. They included county Supervisors Janelle Rettig, Rod Sullivan and Lisa Green-Douglas. Former Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton also endorsed Bohannan.

Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO endorsed Lensing.

Bohannan, 48, has taught law at the UI Law School, first as a visiting professor before taking a permanent role, since 2000. Her undergraduate degree is in environmental engineering and she worked in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in the 1990s.

Lensing, a funeral home owner, has been in the House since 2000.

“I would really like to say how much I appreciate Rep. Lensing’s service,” Bohannan said. “She served with honor and dignity, and I just really appreciate her service.”

The part-time job of a legislator pays $25,000.

Alburnett mayor wins in Iowa House 95

Charlie McClintock, a Cedar Rapids police officer and part-time mayor of Alburnett, won with a comfortable lead in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Iowa House District 95. He ran against Phil High, a Marion business owner.

The district represents parts of Linn and Buchanan counties, including Mount Vernon, Center Point, Alburnett, Central City, Springville, Coggon and Prairieburg.

The incumbent, Rep. Louis Zumbach, chose not to seek reelection.

Both candidates included expanding education as key issues. McClintock touted his background in public safety and highlighted the need for fiscal responsibility.

He will face Mount Vernon Democrat Christian Andrews on Nov. 3.

The district has 7,095 registered Democratics, 6,975 registered Republicans and another 7,578 registered voters without a party affiliation, state data shows.

Bennett carries Cedar Rapids district

Rep. Liz Bennett won easily against challenger Harry Foster in the Democratic primary for Iowa House District 65.

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Foster ran in 2016 as a Republican against Bennett, but Bennett had nearly twice as many votes. In Tuesday’s primary, Bennett had more than 15 times as many votes as Foster.

Bennett, 38, has been in the House since 2014. No Republican has announced for the seat.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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