After all the hoopla of the 2014 election, there won’t be much change in the key decision-makers at the statehouse. Republican Governor Terry Branstad easily won reelection, Republicans added four seats in to their majority in the Iowa House and Democrats were able to retain control of the Iowa Senate.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs suggests legislators need to forget about all the election drama and move on. “Everybody understands a sore loser. Nobody understands a sore winner. Erase the chalk board. Start over,” Gronstal says. “The voters have put a set of people into this golden dome building and it’s our job to work together and try and face the problems Iowa has and solve them.”
For the past two years Democrats had held a narrow, 26 to 24 seat edge in the Iowa Senate and, while some of the seats changed hands Tuesday night, Democrats will be in control by the same 26-to-24 margin for the next few years.
“We go out and recruit really good candidates, people who are already leaders in their community, and help them run smart, savvy campaigns and I think that’s why we succeed,” Gronstal says.
Senate Democrats plan to meet on Sunday to hold leadership elections and Gronstal is likely to remain the majority leader. Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock has scheduled a meeting on Monday for Senate Republicans.
“We’ll all get together,” Dix says. “We’ll work on where we want to align ourselves and make sure we continue to stand for those conservative values that grow Iowa’s economy and jobs and try to find a way to work in any way we can to get those issues done and sent on to the governor.”
House Republicans are likely to retain Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha and Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake as their top leaders. House Republicans will meet Monday to elect leaders and plot strategy for the 2015 legislative session. House Democrats plan to meet on Saturday, November 15 to discuss their election losses and priorities for 2015.