West Des Moines, Waukee Republicans Will Decide One of State’s Most Closely Watched Primaries
Moderate lawmaker faces strong challenge from socially conservative pastor in Senate District 22. Take our poll at the bottom.
West Des Moines, Clive and Waukee Republicans living in the new Senate District 22 will decide what some have called one of the most closely watched Senate primaries in the state.
The June 5 primary pits Sen. Pat Ward of West Des Moines, a moderate who has championed adding sexual orientation to the Iowa Civil Rights Act, against Jeff Mullen, a pastor at Point of Grace Church in Waukee who once preached that homosexuality is “immoral and unnatural.”
Mullen of Clive is a social conservative who founded the Iowa Pastors Network, an advocacy group that encourages pastors to talk with their congregations about what Mullen thinks is a Biblical mandate for involvement in local and national elections. Last year, Mullen was one of 100 Iowa pastors endorsing Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s failed presidential campaign.
To get your vote, the candidates in Senate District 22 must (complete the sentence below in comments).
After Bachmann spoke at Point of Grace Church last fall, the pastor denounced homosexuality as “immoral and unnatural,” MSNBC reported.
The Bleeding Heartland blog said that although Ward isn’t “an old-fashioned moderate like the pro-choice Republicans” who once represented West Des Moines, “she isn’t on the right wing of her Senate caucus, either.”
For example, she championed language adding sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights code and was one of six Senate Republicans who voted for an anti-bullying bill. However, since the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, Ward has consistently voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Ward was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2004, when a special election was held to replace former Sen. Mary Kramer, who had been appointed ambassador to Barbados by President George W. Bush.
Redistricting gave Democrats in Ward’s old district, Senate District 21, a voter registration of 4,200 voters and tossed her into the same district with Iowa’s only openly gay state senator, Democrat Matt McCoy, the Iowa Republican reported.
The Iowa Republican called the primary race between Ward and Mullen “intriguing.”
The winner of the primary will face Democrat Desmund Adams of Clive in November. Republicans hold a voter registration advantage of about 4,675 voters.
Adams is small business owner. His firm, ADAMSDOUGLAS, is a national executive and intern search firm.
Neither House District 42 nor House District 43 has a primary; both districts include parts of West Des Moines.
In November, voters in House District 42, will choose between Rep. Peter Cownie, the Republican incumbent, and Democrat Mike McRea.
Democrat Susan Judkins is hoping to unseat Rep. Chris Hagenow, the Republican incumbent, in House District 43.