Republican Dave Rowley wins special Iowa Senate election in northwest Iowa, keeping GOP control of seat

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Spirit Lake Republican Dave Rowley has won a special election for a northwest Iowa state Senate seat, keeping it under Republican control.

Rowley defeated Democrat Mark Lemke during a special election for Senate District 1, according to unofficial election results reported Tuesday by the Iowa Secretary of State. Rowley received 75.6% of the vote, with Lemke receiving 24.3%.

"As the legislative session nears, I look forward to completing Senator Whiting's term and achieving our shared priorities," Rowley said in a statement. "There are many issues in front of the Iowa Senate as we end this year, and I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to get the job done."

Rowley will take over the seat formerly held by fellow Spirit Lake Republican Sen. Zach Whiting, who resigned in late October to take a job with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Whiting was in the third year of his first four-year term.

Rowley will serve the remainder of the term in District 1, which incorporates Clay, Dickinson, Lyon, Osceola and Palo Alto counties and includes the cities of Spirit Lake, Spencer, Emmetsburg, Sibley and Rock Rapids.

Rowley is an insurance agent at Blum and Leonard Associates and president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. He is the former chair of the Dickinson County GOP. His opponent, Lemke, is a retired business owner who worked several years with General Electric.

Rowley will serve the remainder of Whiting's term. In 2022, he would need to run for reelection in the redrawn Senate District 5, which will include part of Clay County and all of Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Palo Alto and Winnebago counties.

The district will change in the November 2022 elections as a result of the redistricting process the Iowa Legislature completed earlier this fall.

Republicans control the Iowa Senate by a 32-18 margin.

Rowley will take his oath of office when the Iowa Legislature convenes in January.

Ian Richardson covers the Iowa Statehouse for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at, at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa election results: Republicans hold northwest Iowa Senate seat