Republicans in the Cedar Rapids area have chosen the co-chair of the Linn County GOP to run for an open state senate seat in a race that’s garnering national attention because a Republican win could pitch the Iowa Senate into a 25-25 tie.
Cindy Golding of rural Cedar Rapids has run for the legislature before, losing a close Republican primary in 2002.
“It was 10 years ago that I ran. I learned a lot about the process,” Golding said this evening during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. “I knew it was going to take a lot of work and talked with family and friends and decided it was well worth the effort.”
Steve Armstrong, the chairman of Linn County Republicans, said Golding will be a formidable candidate. “I think if it comes down to substance, we win,” Armstrong told Radio Iowa.
Golding will likely face Liz Mathis of Robbins, a former eastern Iowa TV anchor who has announced she intends to seek the Democratic slot for the senate seat when Linn County Democrats hold their nominating convention next week. Golding is already drawing a contrast between herself and Mathis, who worked at stations in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo during her TV career.
“I am very comfortable and familiar with our district and that I have the experience and would be representing them with the issues that are here in our small towns,” Golding said. “Our district is made up of small towns and rural Iowa and I’ve been very active and very intimately familiar with those issues that are significantly different than the larger cities.”
The senate district includes the city of Marion along with the western and northern sections of Linn County. Two other Republicans tried to win the GOP’s nomination for this state senate seat, but Golding was selected on the first ballot, with just over 51 percent support. Former U.S. Attorney Matt Dummermuth finished second in tonight’s voting. Mary Rathje, a Marion resident who is involved in a family construction business, finished third.
“We had three qualified candidates,” Golding said. “And Mary and Matt and I all answered questions and apparently the delegates decided I answered the questions more to their liking.”
The special election will be held November 8th to fill the senate seat vacated when a Democratic senator resigned so Governor Branstad could appoint her to the Iowa Utilities Board.