A Dubuque woman has won the Democratic nomination to represent the city in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Lindsay James earned her party’s nomination for the District 99 seat in Tuesday’s primary election. She nabbed 2,139 votes, good for 55 percent of the total votes cast in the race.

”I am excited for the upcoming campaign and I’m confident it will end in Des Moines,” James said Tuesday night at the Dubuque County Courthouse.


James bested Brad Cavanagh and Pat Cullen for her party’s nomination. Cavanagh netted 1,538 votes — 40 percent — while Cullen earned 189 votes, or 5 percent.

James said she felt the campaign was about “tearing down walls” and barriers for people who haven’t had a voice.

“(I am) excited to do what is good and right and just for Dubuque,” she said.

Cavanagh said he was “really proud of the campaign” he ran. He also pointed to the high voter turnout, with 3,866 total votes cast.

“That alone is a story right there,” he said. “Twenty-one-hundred votes was the total for the 2014 primary. That means people were energized.”

Cavanagh encouraged Democrats to “unite behind Lindsay James.”

“We want to make sure that this seat is one that stays Democratic,” he said. “We need that in the state of Iowa.”

Cullen also encouraged voters to unite behind James.

“I think we need to unite and win in November both here in Dubuque and throughout the state,” he said.

James will face Republican Pauline Chilton in the Nov. 6 elections. The seat currently is held by Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat, who secured her party’s nomination for Iowa’s First Congressional District seat Tuesday.


Nancy Fett, of Peosta, narrowly earned the Democratic nomination for the District 57 seat, which represents much of Dubuque County outside the city of Dubuque. She earned 1,173 votes, edging Leo Gansen, of Epworth, who earned 1,124 votes.

Fett, a longtime social work instructor at Loras College, received 51 percent of the ballots cast.

“I feel what really resonated at the booth was we all do better when we all do better,” Fett said.

Gansen congratulated his opponent on a hard-fought race.

“I would like to thank all the voters who selected me and ask them to support Nancy so we can take this seat in November,” he said.

Fett will challenge incumbent Republican Shannon Lundgren, of Peosta, who just completed her first term in office.