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Democrats retain control of Iowa senate, blocking GOP efforts to repeal gay marriage

Democrats retain control of Iowa senate, blocking GOP efforts to repeal gay marriage

Iowa Democrat Liz Mathis was victorious in a special Iowa state Senate race on Tuesday, allowing her party to retain control of the chamber, blocking Republican efforts to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.

Liz Mathis

Democrats will maintain a 26-24 edge through the 2012 legislative session, reported the Des Moines Register.

Republicans had hoped for a 25-25 tie and the potential opportunity to move forward on now-gridlocked priorities, such as a move to begin the process to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa.

“I pledge to the voters of this district: I will go to the Capitol and fight for you every day. I will be your voice in the State Senate,” Mathis, a former television news anchor, said after her win Tuesday night.

Mathis received 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns, in one of the most expensive races in the state’s legislative history. Nearly $1 million was raised for the race as of last Friday.

Small business owner Cindy Golding, a Republican, received 44 percent, and third-party candidate Jon Tack received 1 percent.

The seat became open in September with the resignation of Democrat Swati Dandekar, whom Republican Gov. Terry Branstad appointed as a member the Iowa Utilities Board.

One Iowa Executive Director Troy Price:

“Tonight was a great victory for Iowans. Voters in this district clearly rejected the mean-spirited and misleading attacks of our opposition that we saw right up until the polls closed on election day, said Troy Price, Executive Director of One Iowa, in a statement.

“Instead, voters elected the candidate they felt would best move our state forward. We are so proud of our volunteers, staff, and supporters who helped make this victory possible. We know that Liz Mathis will be a great senator, and we look forward to working with her in the coming legislative session,” said Price.

“The election is over, but the battle is far from over. Now, the focus turns to the coming legislative session where we fully expect the opponents of equality to redouble their efforts to take away the rights of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.

“One Iowa will be there to stand up for marriage equality at every turn, and we are excited to work with the fair-minded Senate majority to ensure that freedom and equality remains in the heart of the heartland.”

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