Elections

Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren (right), R-Peosta, chats with her sisters Tiffany Herber (left) and Kelly Harris at an election party at Trackside Bar and Grill in Peosta, Iowa, on Tuesday.

PEOSTA, Iowa — A Republican incumbent will retain her seat representing much of Dubuque County in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, a Democrat has earned at two-year term representing much of the city of Dubuque in Tuesday’s midterm election.

Iowa House District 57

Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, defeated fellow Peosta resident Nancy Fett, a Democrat, in Tuesday’s midterm election. Lundgren tallied 8,646 votes — about 55 percent of ballots cast — to Fett’s 6,615 votes.

“I think this result is based on two years of hard work, rather than one season of good campaigning,” she said, adding, “I think we have to continue to focus on tax reform, we have to take a close look at Medicaid, and we have to look at improving health insurance as well.”

Iowa House District 57 covers much of Dubuque County outside the city of Dubuque. Lundgren has held the seat since 2016, replacing Democrat Nancy Dunkel, who did not seek re-election.

Lundgren, 46, owns and operates Trackside Bar & Grill in Peosta, the community in which she lives. The business also hosted her election night party Tuesday that also attracted U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa.

In her first term, Lundgren served as a floor manager of a bill that expands mental health care services in Iowa. She also was the driving force behind a law outlawing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which has yet to go into effect due to ongoing litigation.

Fett, 50, also of Peosta, is an associate professor and field director of social work at Loras College in Dubuque. Throughout the campaign, she lamented the Republican-controlled Legislature’s moves to scale back public workers’ collective bargaining rights and further restrict eligibility for workers’ compensation claims.

But the No. 1 concern she heard on the campaign trail regarded the privatization of Medicaid, which provides health care coverage for 600,000 needy and disabled Iowans.

“I didn’t lose. I won,” Fett said Tuesday night. “I didn’t win the race, but I still win in this scenario because now I know people across the district and feel connected to them in a way I never did before.”

Also challenging Lundgren was Lucas Link, a Libertarian, who received 471 votes. The 27-year-old Asbury resident and social studies teacher hasn’t campaigned in months and at one point said he was dropping out of the race, though his name remained on the ballot.

Iowa House District 99

Lindsay James easily defeated her Republican opponent for the seat representing Iowa House District 99.

Iowa House District 99 covers much of the city of Dubuque. The seat previously was held by Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who opted against a re-election attempt in favor of a bid for a U.S. House seat.

James, a Democrat, received 8,187 votes — or 60 percent of ballots cast. Pauline Chilton, a Republican, earned 5,412 votes.

“It’s always been about connecting with voters at their doors and around the issues they really care about,” James said, adding, “It’s always been about bringing Dubuque values to Des Moines.”

Chilton, 40, is a Realtor and Chicago native who has lived in Dubuque since 2001. She listed business growth, education and improving the area’s quality-of-life potential as her top priorities.

Chilton hosted an election night party at Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, 3100 Dodge St., where she watched the returns surrounded by family and friends.

“I feel like I ran a good race,” Chilton said. “I was committed to being positive, and I was able to do just that.”

James, 38, is an ordained Presbyterian pastor who works primarily as a chaplain on college campuses. She said her experience working with people of myriad faiths has given her experience in finding common ground in an increasingly polarized society.

James was one of several candidates who watched election returns trickle in at the Dubuque County Courthouse.

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