Former Eastern Iowa KCRG news anchor Liz Mathis announced she will run as a Democrat for the open Iowa seat recently vacated by Democrat Swati Dandekar, who will serve in Governor Branstad's administration. This is great news for those fighting to preserve marriage equality in Iowa.
Democrats hold onto a slim one seat majority in Iowa's Senate. That one seat has prevented a constitutional amendment taking away marriage rights from gays and lesbians from passing through the legislature and onto voters, where polling for marriage equality is evenly split. If Democrats lose the seat, a deadlocked 25-25 Iowa Senate will easily pass a constitutional amendment which could face voters as early as June of 2013.
Republicans have yet to announce their selection, but no one will have the name recognition of Liz Mathis. KCRG had the highest rated news program during her tenure. With only 7 short weeks until the election, name recognition is going to be incredibly important in this district which has a slim majority of registered Republicans.
When Mathis left KCRG four years ago, she moved onto Four Oaks, a youth focused non-profit that is highly respected in the area.
No doubt Mathis is already well connected to major donors locally, but we can not ignore this race as a broader national LGBT community just because we have a dream candidate on our side. According to One Iowa's Executive Director Troy Price, "this is expected to be the most expensive legislative race in Iowa's history."
Anti-gay forces, will be joined by anti-union and anti-women organizations to try to sway the first in the nation Presidential caucus state towards a radical right wing agenda.
Speaking of the caucus, we can look forward to candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann preaching their anti-gay rhetoric in an effort to drum up support for the Republican nominee.
For political junkies, this race is the race to watch this November. Rarely is so much at stake for a local election.
More importantly, for those of you concerned about preserving marriage equality in the heartland, you have to get involved right now. There has never been a bigger threat to equality in Iowa than this moment.