State Senate District 41 stays red in special election

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks left the state Senate seat vacant when she became a U.S. Congresswoman for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Republican candidate Adrian Dickey won the special election by 966 votes.


Katie Goodale

The Iowa State Capitol building is seen in Des Moines on April 9, 2019.

Natalie Dunlap, Politics Reporter

Republican Adrian Dickey was elected to represent District 41 in the Iowa Senate in a special election held on Jan. 26, filling the seat vacated by U.S. Rep Mariannette Miller-Meeks. 

With an unofficial vote total of 5,040, Dickey defeated Democratic candidate Mary Stewart, who received 4,074 votes.

Photo of Republican Adrian Dickey. Contributed.

Dickey is the president of Dickey Transport, a family business started by his grandfather. The Packwood, Iowa resident has also been a member of the Iowa Firefighters Association for 29 years. He will represent Iowans in Davis and Van Buren Counties and portions of Wapello and Jefferson Counties in the state senate.

Dickey did not immediately respond to The Daily Iowan’s request for comment.

Miller-Meeks was elected as the district’s state senator in 2018, but vacated the seat when she became a U.S. Congresswoman for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. She told her previous constituents to vote for Dickey and keep the seat red. 

“I want to congratulate Senator-elect Adrian Dickey on his election to serve the people of southeast Iowa in the state senate,” Miller-Meeks said in an email to The Daily Iowan. “I know he will work hard to represent them and to be their voice in Des Moines.”

She added that during the pandemic she hopes to see the Legislature work to help small businesses, increase wages for working families, and reopen schools.

Photo of Democrat Mary Stewart. Contributed.

Stewart, a 69-year-old educator and community college administrator from Ottumwa, ran against Miller-Meeks in the 2018 midterm elections. Though she did not secure the seat in 2018 or in 2021, she said she is proud of her campaign and humbled by the people across the state who supported the campaign.

“I don’t believe you have to hold the public office to bring about change,” she told The Daily Iowan. “And so, the issues and the concerns that I have, the things that I would like to see better for Iowa, I get up tomorrow morning, and begin working on those, and I fully intend to.”

After the unofficial vote totals came in, Stewart gave Dickey a call to congratulate him and ask that he provide the people of District 41 the representation they deserve. 

“I understand that politics is partisan, but government is about people,” Stewart said. “And I think it’s time to pay attention to the fact that we need to serve all the people in this state and take everybody’s view into account, so hopefully he will move forward and do that.” 

Republicans have the majority in Iowa’s Senate and House. Dickey will join 31 other Republicans in the state Senate, alongside 18 Democrats.