UPDATE: Former KWWL/KCRG anchor Liz Mathis said to be running for Iowa Senate seat

2011-09-21T04:30:00Z 2011-09-29T04:47:40Z UPDATE: Former KWWL/KCRG anchor Liz Mathis said to be running for Iowa Senate seatBy JAMES Q. LYNCH, Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

MARION, Iowa --- Three candidates for the Republican nomination in a special election to fill a Linn County Iowa Senate seat touted their conservative, pro-growth credentials Tuesday in front of a packed house at the county GOP monthly meeting.

Across town at the opening of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign field office Democrats praised their hand-picked candidate to replace Swati Dandekar, a Marion Democrat who resigned to take a post on the Iowa Utilities Board.

Activists in both parties predicted the campaigns for special election Nov. 8 will be intense and expensive.

"It's one we must win - and we will," Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville said.

He predicted that former KCRG-TV 9 news anchor Liz Mathis of Robins will be an excellent candidate given her record in small business, the media and the non-profit sector. Mathis currently is chief information officer for Four Oaks, a non-profit child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health agency founded headquartered in Cedar Rapids.

"She's been an amazing listener all these years and now she has an opportunity to use all that knowledge," Libby Slappey of Cedar Rapids said, referring to Mathis' quarter century in television news.

Democrats must win to maintain their 26-24 majority that provides a firewall against the agenda being pushed by a Republican governor and the Iowa House where the GOP has a 60-40 majority, Slappey said.

"There are so many issues Republicans would like to take in the opposite direction," she said. "Abortion rights and gay marriage are at the top of the list."

Neither was mentioned by the three GOP hopefuls when they spoke at the Republican Central Committee meeting to about 175 people - double the usual attendance. Instead, former U.S. Attorney Matt Dummermuth of Robins, Mary Rathje of Marion and Cindy Golding of Cedar Rapids talked about job creation and creating a pro-growth business climate, improving educational performance and helping Gov. Terry Branstad rein in spending and make state government more efficient.

Most of all, Dummermuth said, Republicans and conservatives in Senate 18 want to win so their issues get a discussion in the Senate.

"You don't get to implement your policies unless you win," he said, adding that voters want a senator who is competent, a leader and "can move the state in a more conservative direction."

Rathje concentrated on her experience as a small businesswoman - creating jobs, writing paychecks and dealing with the burden of property taxes.

"We've got to get to 25-25 because it's critical to get some things moving in the Senate," Rathje said.

Golding agreed with her rivals on what the issues are, but said she has more experience in working on the issues as a representative for the Farm Bureau and National Federation of Small Business.

"We need strong leadership ... someone who can stand up to (Senate Democratic Leader) Mike Gronstal," said Golding, who went on to say she is "someone who has been in Des Moines working on those issues."

 

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, who represents half of Senate 18, isn't sure what the full impact of a 25-25 split in the Senate would mean.

"At a minimum, however, it will save the taxpayers means tens of millions in spending," Paulsen said. "It will breathe new life into some of those pro-growth bills that (the House) has sent over. That's all good."

Victory won't come cheaply. Dvorsky suggested each party's campaign for the $25,000-a-year position could hit a quarter of a million dollars.

"That's entirely possible," Paulsen said.

Republicans will select their candidate at a nomination convention at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Longbranch Hotel & Convention Center, 90 Twixt Town Rd., NE, Cedar Rapids.

Democrats will have a nomination convention Sept. 28 following their regular monthly meeting at the Hiawatha Community Center, 101 Emmons St. Hiawatha.

Senate District 18 covers all of t Marion, Fairfax, Palo, Hiawatha, Robbins, Alburnett, Center Point, Walker, Coggon, Prairieburg and part of Walford

EDAR RAPIDS, Iowa --- A former U.S. attorney and a former Eastern Iowa television anchorwoman are joining the field of candidates to fill a vacancy in Iowa Senate 18 in northern and western Linn County.

Matt Dummermuth of Robins, who served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa 2007 to 2009, has joined the race for the Republican nomination. Now in private practice with Whitaker Hagenow GBMG, Dummermuth led leading an office of 60 employees including 26 attorneys in prosecuting federal crimes and handling civil matters in the Northern District, which includes Linn County.

Democrat Liz Mathis, who anchored television newscasts for KWWL in Waterloo and more recently at KCRG-TV 9 in Cedar Rapids, was expected to announce her candidacy tonight. She is the chief information officer for Four Oaks, a non-profit child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health agency founded headquartered in Cedar Rapids.

A special election is scheduled Nov. 8 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Swati Dandekar, a Marion Democrat, from the Iowa Senate. She accepted Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's appointment to the Iowa Utilities Board.

The election has special significance because Democrats control the Senate 26-24. A GOP win Nov. 8 would deadlock the chamber and could open the door for Republicans to advance their agenda, including putting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot and a variety of tax and budget issues.

Republicans will select a candidate at a nomination convention at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Longbranch Hotel & Convention Center, 90 Twixt Town Rd., NE, Cedar Rapids.

In addition to Dummermuth, Cedar Rapids businesswomen Cindy Golding and Mary Rathje, are seeking the nomination. Party leaders say there may be others joining the race.

Democrats, who met in recent days to vet two possible candidates, will make the nomination official at a convention following their regular monthly Central Committee meeting Sept. 28, 2011 at the Hiawatha Community Center: 101 Emmons St. Hiawatha.

The deadline for candidates to get on the ballot is Oct. 14.

Senate District 18 covers all of t Marion, Fairfax, Palo, Hiawatha, Robbins, Alburnett, Center Point, Walker, Coggon, Prairieburg and part of Walford.

 

 

Copyright 2015 Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. homer5r20
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    homer5r20 - September 27, 2011 5:50 pm
    WMac90 said: "reojoe said: ""Ouch," says Homer..."This is exactly my point...my brother has worked for years at EPI...he goes way beyond what he needs to do for his job there to help out the kids and adults in the program...that does not mean it has anything to do with politics...I wouldn't vote for him either.....What type of employment would you prefer your politicans come from? That is ridiculous... every "politician" did something else before they got into politics. "Politicians" are elected to be public servants, and someone who has already shown an ability to serve members of the public is more than qualified to hold office."

    How about starting at a lower level of politics...like city council or on a board...something before they move up to where they could cause problems for so many people...
  2. WMac90
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    WMac90 - September 27, 2011 2:26 pm

    reojoe said: ""Ouch," says Homer..."

    This is exactly my point...my brother has worked for years at EPI...he goes way beyond what he needs to do for his job there to help out the kids and adults in the program...that does not mean it has anything to do with politics...I wouldn't vote for him either.....

    What type of employment would you prefer your politicans come from? That is ridiculous... every "politician" did something else before they got into politics. "Politicians" are elected to be public servants, and someone who has already shown an ability to serve members of the public is more than qualified to hold office.
  3. reojoe
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    reojoe - September 27, 2011 12:15 pm
    Captian Bruisin' said: "Classic Democrat whining... It's as if the only "workers and ordinary people" are union members. Here is a news flash: There are many workers and ordinary people who are fed up with the crooked unions running education. It's not about silencing anyone, it's about letting everyone be heard. For decades it's been spend, spend, spend. More benefits, more this and more that... and there is nothing to show for it."

    You DO understand that unions only constertute 11% of American workers, don't you?

    What kind of impact does 11% of all workers REALLY have?

    Your ignorance is frightening...
  4. Captian Bruisin'
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    Captian Bruisin' - September 26, 2011 5:30 pm
    avee said: "We will have to wait and see. I don't think anything will match the amount of union money (involuntary contributions) that will be dumped on Liz. Money + good looks will go a long way. Good pick by the dems."

    Agreed... with democrat candidates and state elections, usually the dirty union money is enough. In these tough times, the looks and name recognition might be needed.
  5. Captian Bruisin'
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    Captian Bruisin' - September 26, 2011 5:27 pm
    CJB said: "Whoever winds up with the Republican nomination will have an enormous amount of out of state money spent on them. The Republicans are looking to establish a Scott Walker style silencing of anyone not fitting their conservative mold. The interests of the workers, of ordinary citizens will be kicked aside."

    Classic Democrat whining... It's as if the only "workers and ordinary people" are union members. Here is a news flash: There are many workers and ordinary people who are fed up with the crooked unions running education. It's not about silencing anyone, it's about letting everyone be heard. For decades it's been spend, spend, spend. More benefits, more this and more that... and there is nothing to show for it.

  6. homer5r20
    Report Abuse
    homer5r20 - September 23, 2011 4:49 pm
    reojoe said: ""Ouch," says Homer..."

    This is exactly my point...my brother has worked for years at EPI...he goes way beyond what he needs to do for his job there to help out the kids and adults in the program...that does not mean it has anything to do with politics...I wouldn't vote for him either.....
  7. reojoe
    Report Abuse
    reojoe - September 22, 2011 3:20 pm
    WMac90 said: ""Mathis currently is chief information officer for Four Oaks, a non-profit child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health agency founded headquartered in Cedar Rapids."homer5r20: It's ironic that you criticize Liz Mathis for running based on good looks and that you'd like a candidate that sticks up for the little people... Ironically, Mathis works for a non-profit organization that works to the benefit of children that are in difficult situations. Through her years reporting on the state issues as a local reporter, and now her time with Four Oaks, she has tremendous experience and the constituents in that district would be well-served by her."

    "Ouch," says Homer...
  8. homer5r20
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    homer5r20 - September 22, 2011 3:19 pm
    reojoe said: "You don't actually think that we are sending our best and brightest into the politercal realm today, do you?If so, you're going to be VERY disappernted!"

    rejoe...for once I agree with you...this is happening on both sides...
  9. reojoe
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    reojoe - September 22, 2011 12:26 pm
    homer5r20 said: "I am tired of people running for offices going on their good looks or the amount of money they spend...Hey...how about running for the good of the PEOPLE...fight for the little guy for once............"

    You don't actually think that we are sending our best and brightest into the politercal realm today, do you?

    If so, you're going to be VERY disappernted!
  10. reojoe
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    reojoe - September 22, 2011 12:24 pm
    homer5r20 said: "Exactly my point Keith...Tami should not have been there either...."

    Thanks, again, for the reference to my hero Keith!!

    I'm honored to be mentioned along side of him, and I'm humbled by your linking me to him!

    Feel free to call me Keith anytime, bro! Thanks, again!
  11. WMac90
    Report Abuse
    WMac90 - September 22, 2011 11:24 am

    "Mathis currently is chief information officer for Four Oaks, a non-profit child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health agency founded headquartered in Cedar Rapids."

    homer5r20: It's ironic that you criticize Liz Mathis for running based on good looks and that you'd like a candidate that sticks up for the little people... Ironically, Mathis works for a non-profit organization that works to the benefit of children that are in difficult situations. Through her years reporting on the state issues as a local reporter, and now her time with Four Oaks, she has tremendous experience and the constituents in that district would be well-served by her.
  12. homer5r20
    Report Abuse
    homer5r20 - September 21, 2011 3:22 pm
    I am tired of people running for offices going on their good looks or the amount of money they spend...Hey...how about running for the good of the PEOPLE...fight for the little guy for once............
  13. homer5r20
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    homer5r20 - September 21, 2011 3:17 pm
    reojoe said: "The same amount as Tammy Wienczek..."

    Exactly my point Keith...Tami should not have been there either....
  14. Think
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    Think - September 21, 2011 1:23 pm
    The State is in a lot of trouble because people get elected to represent the people and then become politicians. One term and your out. That way no one gets to learn the ropes.
  15. reojoe
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    reojoe - September 21, 2011 11:55 am
    homer5r20 said: "What back ground in politics does Liz have? I have not heard of any. "

    The same amount as Tammy Wienczek...
  16. flip68
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    flip68 - September 21, 2011 8:34 am
    I find the comment "You don't get to implement your policies unless you win," interesting.
    It seems to me so many politicians are trying to implement their policies. Here is an novel idea, implement what is best for the folks in your district. Many years ago there were a few Senators and Reps. that would vote with the other party because it was good for the folks in their district. Sad to say but you really don't see those types much anymore.
    This race should be interesting.
  17. avee
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    avee - September 21, 2011 8:01 am
    We will have to wait and see. I don't think anything will match the amount of union money (involuntary contributions) that will be dumped on Liz. Money + good looks will go a long way. Good pick by the dems.
  18. CJB
    Report Abuse
    CJB - September 21, 2011 6:15 am
    Whoever winds up with the Republican nomination will have an enormous amount of out of state money spent on them. The Republicans are looking to establish a Scott Walker style silencing of anyone not fitting their conservative mold. The interests of the workers, of ordinary citizens will be kicked aside.
  19. homer5r20
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    homer5r20 - September 20, 2011 8:14 pm
    What back ground in politics does Liz have? I have not heard of any.
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