Former Iowa City mayor wins Ames special election

Ross Wilburn, a former Iowa City mayor and city councilman won the special election to Iowa House District 46, which represents part of Ames.

Gubernatorial+candidate+Ross+Wilburn+speaks+during+the+Johnson+County+Democrats+BBQ+at+the+Johnson+County+Fairgrounds+on+Sunday%2C+Oct.+15%2C+2017.+Multiple+gubernatorial+candidates+spoke+at+the+event+as+well+as+guest+speaker+Rep.+Dave+Loebsack+%28D-Iowa%29.+%28Ben+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Former Iowa City mayor wins Ames special election

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)

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)

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)

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Smith

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)

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

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After drawing national attention with endorsements from Democratic presidential hopefuls, former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn won a special election to the Iowa House in a district that includes parts of Ames on Aug. 6. Wilburn ran unopposed for the vacant seat after predecessor Rep. Lisa Heddens resigned to take a seat on the Story County Board of Supervisors.

Wilburn won more than 97 percent of the vote, according to early results. His election won’t change the proportion of Democrats and Republicans in the Iowa House — Heddens is also a Democrat. He’ll join a state government that has a Republican trifecta.

“The Iowa Democratic Party is proud to support strong progressive advocates like Ross who will fight every day for working families, and we will continue working to elect Democrats up and down the ballot and flip the Iowa House in 2020,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price in an email statement after results were announced.

The special election has received attention from national Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, and Beto O’Rourke.

The district includes most of the Iowa State University campus. Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds set the election date to be Aug. 6 — before most ISU students returned to campus. This drew the ire of the O’Rourke campaign, which posted a video on Twitter encouraging students to organize for Wilburn.

Wilburn served as mayor of Iowa City from 2006-07 and was a city councilor for 12 years. From 2000 to 2008 he was executive director of the Johnson County Crisis Center. In 2014, he left a job as an Iowa City School District administrator to join Iowa State University’s outreach office as a diversity officer.

In 2018, he ran unsuccessfully in a seven-way race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Iowa.

 

 

 

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