Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2018

Stewart defeats Malloy in State Senate race

Miller-Meeks downs Cesar; Hubbell wins nomination
By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jun 06, 2018
Mary Stewart

Democrat Mary Stewart will face Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks in the general election for State Senate District 41 after defeating Ed Malloy in Tuesday’s primary election.

Stewart, of Ottumwa, received 58.31 percent of the vote to Malloy’s 41.55 percent, or 2,909 votes to 2,073. Malloy, who has been Fairfield’s mayor since winning election in 2001, carried Jefferson County with 81 percent of the vote, 1,621 votes to Stewart’s 374. Stewart dominated the other three counties that comprise the district, however, garnering 89 percent in Wapello County, 81 percent in Davis County and 66 percent in Van Buren County.


Getting out the vote

“I was so pleased with the totals in Van Buren and Davis counties,” Stewart said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in each of those counties, Davis County in particular, and they really turned out for me.”

Stewart said she has been campaigning for the position since last June, when she began making appointments with people in the district to discuss issues over a cup of coffee. She heard from constituents worried about jobs, health care and funding for schools.

“A lot of people were concerned about public safety, funding for the courts, and mental health was another one that came up repeatedly,” she said. “In Fairfield, there is a heavy focus on environmental issues, so people there are great at informing me about water quality or renewable energy bills.”

Stewart spent the last two months of the campaign knocking on doors, seemingly from sunrise to sunset. She worked especially hard in the three counties outside her home county of Wapello, including Jefferson County.

“I know that Ed Malloy is a well-known and respected figure there, and I knew he’d carry the majority of votes there,” she said. “To his credit, people turned out.”

Stewart said Malloy ran a good campaign and that both candidates kept their message “on high ground.”


Malloy’s message

This was Malloy’s first venture into state politics. His message focused on revitalizing rural areas, arguing that they have been left behind.

“I think our message was well received,” he said. “Campaigns are about the candidates running, and I understand that a different choice was made.”

Malloy heard from Democratic voters concerned about cuts to education, loss of collective bargaining rights and the environment.

“Something else I heard on the campaign trail was that voters want representatives in the state Legislature to work in a more bipartisan fashion,” he said. “I tried to answer that by pointing to my long experience in local government, which is a non-partisan platform that is consensus-based.”

Malloy was elected to a ninth term as mayor in November, and he looks forward to completing the two-year term, which he would have had to cut short had he won the election. He said there’s still a chance he could find his way into state politics someday.

“I follow the state Legislature closely, and I would like to lend my background and skills to the legislative process,” he said. “I still feel strongly about being part of that. We’ll see what opportunities present themselves in the future.”


Miller-Meeks emerges victorious

Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa defeated Dan Cesar of Keosauqua on the other side of the State Senate District 41 race. Miller-Meeks received 1,706 votes (85 percent) to Cesar’s 278 (14 percent). By county, Miller-Meeks received 86 percent in Wapello, 85 percent in Jefferson, 82 percent in Davis and 87 percent in Van Buren.

Miller-Meeks was busy this morning performing a surgery and could not be reached for comment on her victory. Miller-Meeks was appointed by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to director of the Iowa Public Health Department in 2011, a position she held until 2014.

Cesar said the main take-away from the campaign is that voters are worried about the future.

“The shaky nature of the ag sector and potential trade wars were on everybody’s mind,” he said. “Profitability in farming has been down for five years.”

Cesar said he wishes Miller-Meeks well in the general election, though he thinks she’ll have a hard-fought battle.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm on the Democrats’ side,” he said. “The conservative wing of the GOP stayed home. The voter turnout was abysmal. If that trend continues, it will be hard for Mariannette to win. To the Democrats’ credit, they got their people out.”

In Jefferson County, 27 percent of the 10,152 registered voters participated in Tuesday’s primary election. Of those, 2,091 voted in the Democratic Party’s primary, and 592 voted in the Republican Party’s primary.

Depressing the Republican Party’s turnout was the lack of a contested race for governor. The Democrats, meanwhile, fielded five candidates. That race was won by Fred Hubbell, who garnered 56 percent of the vote. Other candidates were Cathy Glasson (20 percent), John Norris (11 percent), Andy McGuire (5 percent) and Ross Wilburn (2 percent). Nate Boulton also received 5 percent of the vote, although he dropped out of the race in late May after three women made allegations of sexual harassment against him.


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