Government

Wahls captures lead in Senate race, other Democrats also see early advances

Iowa Senate candidate Zach Wahls reacts as results display for Kansas’ governor race during a watch party at Big Grove Brewery on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (David Scrivner/Freelance)
Iowa Senate candidate Zach Wahls reacts as results display for Kansas’ governor race during a watch party at Big Grove Brewery on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (David Scrivner/Freelance)

Incumbent Democrats largely held onto their seats in the Corridor’s Iowa state Senate races.

Democrat Zach Wahls cruised to victory over Libertarian Carl A. Krambeck in District 37. Wahls, 27, of Coralville, will succeed state Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, who is retiring after 32 years in the Senate.

District 37 includes eastern Johnson County, all of Cedar County and the city of Wilton in Muscatine County.

Wahls, who is self-employed, first gained attention in 2011 when he gave a passionate speech to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in defense of same-sex marriage, invoking his two mothers.

Co-founder of Scouts for Equality, which led a national campaign to end the Boy Scout’s of America’s ban on LGBTQ people, he graduated from Iowa City West High School and the University of Iowa before pursuing his master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

In Senate District 29, Republican challenger Carrie Koelker beat incumbent Democrat Tod Bowman. Koelker, 48, of Dyersville, is executive director of the Eastern Iowa Tourism Association. The district includes Jackson and Dubuque counties and part of Jones County.

All three of these counties voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 after voting for President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008.

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Half the Senate’s 50 seats were on the ballot this year. Republicans took control of the state Senate in 2016. Before this election, the GOP held 29 seats to the Democrat’s 20, with one Independent. State senators make $25,000 a year.

District 33

Incumbent Democrat Rob Hogg, 51, handily beat Republican Edward Bernie Hayes. Hogg, a lawyer, will be serving his fourth term in the Senate. District 33 includes northeast, southeast and parts of the southwest quadrants of Cedar Rapids.

District 35

Democrat Todd Taylor, 52, won his seat with no opposition. A union field representative from Cedar Rapids who was in the state House, Taylor will replace retiring Sen. Wally Horn to represent southwest Linn County.

District 39

Incumbent Democrat Kevin Kinney, 55, of Oxford, beat Republican Heather Hora. A farmer, he was first elected to the senate in 2014 to represent western Johnson and part of Washington counties as well as all of Keokuk County.

District 43

Incumbent Democrat Joe Bolkcom, 62, of Iowa City, cruised past Republican Patrick Joseph Wronkiewicz. This will be the sixth Senate term for Bolkcom, outreach and community education director for the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and the Iowa Flood Center. District 43 in central Johnson County includes Iowa City, University Heights and Hills.

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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