A Republican has held onto the state senate seat that became open last month when Senator Kent Sorenson resigned over allegations he was paid to work for presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. Seventy-two-year-old Julian Garrett of rural Indianola has been a member of the House, but now he’ll become a senator after today’s special election in the district that includes the cities of Indianola, Norwalk and Winterset.”I think the people of the district here, they know me,” Garrett says. “I served in the house for three years.”
Garrett says Sorenson’s situation was not an issue with voters.
“That just wasn’t a concern,” Garrett says. “I know some people thought maybe that would be an issue or problem and I think some people might have hoped that it would be, but It was not and I hope that’s the case, that we can move on.”
Garrett ran campaign ads saying politicians shouldn’t spend their time trying to lay the blame on others, but rather spend it fixing the problems.
“I’m not known as a strident person or a bomb thrower, exactly,” Garrett says. “I’m, I think, known as a pretty reasonable person.”
Garrett won with 60 percent of the vote and he credits a strong network of volunteers.
“I just had dozens and dozens of people out helping with the campaign,” Garrett says.
Garrett will serve out the remaining year of Sorenson’s term and face reelection in 2014. Garrett’s Democratic opponent in Tuesday’s special election was 62-year-old Mark Davitt, a photographer from Indianola who is a former legislator.
The Republican win does not change the balance of power in the Iowa Senate, which will continue to have 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans after Tuesday’s victory by the Republican candidate. With Garrett’s victory, however, there is now an open House seat and the governor will have to schedule a special election to fill that vacancy.