Former Iowa City mayor runs for Iowa House in special election

Ross Wilburn, former Iowa City mayor, is running for a vacant house seat in Ames. The election has drawn national attention from Democratic presidential-nomination candidates.


The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Smith

Gubernatorial candidate Ross Wilburn speaks during the Johnson County Democrats BBQ at the Johnson County Fairgrounds on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. Multiple gubernatorial candidates spoke at the event as well as guest speaker Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa). (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

Ross Wilburn, a former Iowa City mayor, is the Democratic nominee in a special election for the Iowa House of Representatives in Ames.

Iowa House District 46 was vacated by Rep. Lisa Heddens after she was appointed to the Story County Board of Supervisors. Wilburn was selected by the Story County Democrats at a nominating convention on June 29.

Wilburn, who was the mayor of Iowa City from 2006-07 and a city councilor for 12 years, works as an extension and outreach coordinator for diversity at Iowa State University. Wilburn also ran in the Democratic primary for the 2018 gubernatorial nomination. He did not receive the nomination.

Wilburn has received endorsements from several Democratic presidential-nomination candidates, including Julián Castro, Beto O’Rourke, and Kamala Harris.

The election is set for Aug 6, before classes resume at Iowa State University. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds scheduled the special election before the students returned.

In a video posted to Twitter, O’Rourke encouraged Iowans to organize for Wilburn’s campaign.

“This election is really important because the governor has placed it on a date before students are back at school,” Beto said via Twitter. “My belief is that they are trying to suppress the number of people that turn out to vote. So the responsibility is ours to get out there.”


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