Former Iowa City mayor Ross Wilburn secured the Democratic nomination for the vacant Iowa House District 46 State seat and a spot on the ballot for the special election set for Tuesday, Aug. 6, in Story County. The special election was called after nine-term legislator Lisa Heddens resigned following an appointment to the Board of Supervisors on June 13.
Wilburn defeated Ames City Council member Amber Corrieri and Ames School Board member Jamet Colton in a two-ballot convention. In the first ballot, Wilburn received 48 percent of the delegate votes, but didn’t meet the 50 percent threshold required for the nomination. Corrieri totaled 39 percent to Colton’s 19 percent and thus moved into a head-to-head with Wilburn in the second ballot.
In the second ballot, Wilburn captured 67 percent of the vote, to Corrieri’s 33 percent, locking up the nomination. Currently, no Republican or Libertarian opponent has been announced, and attempts to reach the Story County Republicans for comment on Saturday was unsuccessful.
“I’m honored to be selected by my neighbors as the Democratic nominee for state representative for the upcoming special election. Over the next five weeks, I’m going to work tirelessly to meet the people of District 46 and earn their vote,” Wilburn said. “We’re no better off as a society, as a city than the least fortunate among us. So we’ve got to continue, and this just the beginning.”
District 46 consists of parts of Ames and parts of western Story County, and currently Beth Wessell-Kroeschell, a Democrat, is the lone Ames representation in the House, as of Saturday. Democratic State Sen. Herman Quirmbach represents Ames and some surrounding areas in Senate District 23.
Wilburn broke barriers when he was elected as the first black mayor in Iowa City’s history in 2006, and if elected, would be just the fifth black representative in the Iowa House of Representatives.
After moving to Ames in 2014, serving as the diversity officer and associate program director of community and economic development at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and a subsequent 2018 gubernatorial bid, Wilburn announced his intentions to run for the 46th District seat earlier this month.
If elected, Wilburn identified privatized Medicaid, climate change, and gun violence as a few first-step priority goals. Additionally, Wilburn supports strengthening public school districts and funding, and restoring collective bargaining rights for public workers.
As of June 1, 7,190 active registered Democrats, 5,138 Republicans and 8,015 no-party voters are registered to participate in the Aug. 6 special election.