Des Moines metro legislative election results: Gobble to ask for a recount

The votes are in Polk County for Iowa House and Senate district races.

Candidates for the Iowa House and Senate ran their races in an unusual election season. The 2022 elections were the first under Iowa’s new set of legislative district boundaries, which lawmakers approved last fall as part of the once-in-a-decade redistricting process.

The new maps paired some incumbent lawmakers together, forcing them to compete against one another, retire or move into another district.

As of Thursday afternoon, some elections are still too close to call. In Ankeny, Republican Garrett Gobble announced Thursday he would call for a recount after results showed he trailed his Democratic opponent Heather Matson by a mere 24 votes in Iowa House District 42.

Also in the Ankeny area, just 130 votes separate candidates Democrat Molly Buck and Republican Marvis Landon in House District 41. The Associated Press had not called either race as of Thursday afternoon.

Here’s a list — in numerical order by district — of results.

House District 29: Brian Meyer

Where: Des Moines

Democrat Brian Meyer will keep his Iowa House seat after Tuesday's election. He was unopposed as he sought a sixth term.

Meyer, who earned a law degree from Drake University, told the Des Moines Register, his top issue is economic justice.

House District 30: Megan Srinivas defeats Jerry Cheevers

Where: South Des Moines

Democrat Megan Srinivas defeated Republican Jerry Cheevers for the redrawn Iowa House District 30.

Srinivas and Cheevers vied to succeed Rep. Bruce Hunter, who is retiring at the end of his term. Srinivas got 64% of the votes and Cheevers, 36%, according to unofficial results. Srinivas, 35, is an infectious disease physician.

She said she ran to address the social determinants of health that keep people from living quality lives.

“I’m so honored that the Southside is trusting me to be their voice in the State Capitol,” Srinivas said in an emailed statement. “I have served my community through my work in healthcare, and I look forward to bringing my experience to the legislature. I’m ready to get to work.”

Cheevers declined to answer the Register's questions about his top issues.

House District 31: Mary Madison defeats Justin Pearson

Where: West Des Moines, and a small section in northwest Dallas County

Democrat Mary Madison defeated Republican Justin Pearson to win Iowa House District 31.

Madison earned 56.5% of the votes and Pearson, 43.5%, according to unofficial results.

Madison, 72, is a minister at St. Paul African American Church and a member of the Iowa Democratic Black Caucus.

She ran on issues such as education, providing mental health services and protecting reproductive justice as a health care right.

Pearson, 28, who is a realtor with Re/Max Revolution and the owner of a home maintenance business, said his top issue was education. Pearson has a degree from Iowa State University.

House District 32: Jennifer Konfrst defeats challenger Mark Brown

Where: Clive, Windsor Heights, parts of West Des Moines

Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst fended off Republican challenger Mark Brown for Iowa House District 32.

Konfrst got 59.9% of the votes and Brown, 40%, according to unofficial results.

“It means a lot to me,” Konfrst said. “This is my neighborhood and this is my community. Their trust means a lot.”

She said state Democrats are focused on a “people over politics agenda” with the goal of lowering costs, defending public education and reproductive freedoms, and legalizing marijuana.

Konfrst, 48, was elected to the Iowa House in 2018. She was chosen as the Democratic leader in 2021.

Konfrst said strengthening Iowa's public schools would continue to be her top priority in her third term.

Konfrst has a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication and a master's in public administration from Drake University.

Brown, 50, ran unsuccessfully for West Des Moines school board last year. He is a regional sales manager, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese from the University of California, Berkeley. He told the Register that if elected, his top priorities would have been protecting Iowa children, family, finances and freedom.

House District 33: Ruth Ann Gaines

Where: Northeast Des Moines

Ruth Ann Gaines
Ruth Ann Gaines

Democrat Ruth Ann Gaines will keep her Iowa House District 33 seat after Tuesday's election. Gaines, a retired teacher, was first elected in 2010.

House District 34: Ako Abdul-Samad defeats R.J. Miller

Where: Northcentral Des Moines

Democratic state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad beat independent candidate R.J. Miller to win Iowa House District 34.

Abdul-Samad got 84.6% of the votes and Miller, 15.4%, according to unofficial results. Abdul-Samad, 71, has been an Iowa legislator for 16 years.

He is the founder of Creative Visions and a former Des Moines School Board member.

Abdul-Samad said his top priorities are school safety and funding, and fostering relationships between parents, students and teachers.

His contender, Miller, 32, who works in community outreach, also said education would have been his top priority.

House District 35: Sean Bagniewski defeats Dennis McCullough

Where: Beaverdale

Democrat Sean Bagniewski beat no-party candidate Dennis McCullough in Iowa House District 35.

Bagniewski received 77% of the votes and McCullough, 23%, according to unofficial results. Bagniewski, 38, is an attorney who serves as the Polk County Democratic Party chair.

Bagniewski said he plans to tackle education and the economy.

McCullough, 44, a business owner and truck driver, attended Grand View University. He told the Register he ran to keep politicians in check and remind them they work for the people of Iowa.

House District 36: Austin Baeth

Where: Sherman Hill neighborhood, area surrounding Gray's Lake

Democrat Austin Baeth, 37, a primary care physician and public health advocate, was the lone candidate running this fall.

He said his top mission would be to champion the use of "evidence-based policymaking that serves the greater good in Iowa."

House District 39: Rick Olson defeats Mark Weatherly

Where: Des Moines, Pleasant Hill

Democratic state Rep. Rick Olson warded off his Republican challenger, Mark Weatherly, for Iowa House District 39.

Incumbent Olson got 53% of the votes and Weatherly, 47%, according to unofficial results.

Olson, 71, a Des Moines attorney who served as a state representative over nine terms, told the Register his top priority is to invest in public schools to provide Iowa children with "every educational opportunity."

Weatherly, 62, a Des Moines business management college professor and business consultant, says he's a champion of individual freedom. He told the Register he advocates for lower taxes and incentivizing economic growth to help Iowans fend off rising costs and inflation. Weatherly has an MBA and PhD in educational leadership.

House District 40: Bill Gustoff wins three-way race

Where: Altoona, Des Moines

Republican Bill Gustoff, an attorney, won a three-way race for the Iowa House District 40 seat.

Gustoff won with 50% of the votes, according to unofficial results. Democrat MacKenzie Bills had 47% of the vote and Libertarian Jeni Kadel had 4%. The Associated Press called the race Wednesday afternoon.

"Thank you to the voters of Iowa House District 40 for your support and for voting to send me to the Iowa House to represent you!" Gustoff wrote in a Facebook post. "I look forward to working with other local leaders and the many residents of the district to represent their interests in the legislature."

In a Facebook post Wednesday morning, Bills wished Gustoff luck in leading the House district.

"I hope he advocates for everyone in the district and keeps everyone top of mind — no matter their party," Bills wrote.

Gustoff, 54, ran on issues such as the economy and the protection of individual liberties.

Gustoff has a University of Iowa law degree and has served on boards of nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and Ruth Harbor Ministries.

Bills, 28, told the Register her top issue would have been public education, tackling human trafficking and mental health. She is an anti-human trafficking advocate with degrees in political science and international relations.

Kadel, 37, told the Register she would have prioritized health care reform. She is a small business owner who graduated with a bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant and institution management.

House District 41: Molly Buck leads

Where: Northern half of Ankeny

The race for Iowa House District 41 is still too close to call.

With all Polk County precincts reporting, Democrat Molly Buck was leading Republican Marvis Landon.

As of Wednesday afternoon, just 130 votes separated the candidates. Buck had 50.4% of votes while Landon had 49.6%, according to unofficial results. The Associated Press had not yet called the race as of Thursday afternoon, though Buck, a teacher, told the Register she was confident in the results.

"I am excited to represent Ankeny and to be a voice for public education!" Buck wrote in a text message Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement posted on Facebook overnight, Landon appeared to concede the race.

"It was a close race and I appreciate all the support!" Landon wrote. "After the results, I asked Molly Buck to do her best for our children."

Landon did not immediately respond to the Register's request for comment.

Buck, earned her Master's in Educational Leadership from Drake University. Her previous political and civic activities include serving as the former president of the Ankeny Education Association.

Buck, 52, said her main focus if elected would be education, adding she would pursue "adequate funding" for Iowa's public schools.

This would be her first term in the House.

Landon earned her MBA at Drake University. Her occupations have included farmer, real estate agent and engineering.

Landon, 63, who has served as a member of the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce since 2010, told the Register her top issue would be providing all Iowa students access to a "world-class education."

House District 42: Heather Matson leads; Gobble to ask for a recount

Where: Southern half of Ankeny

With just 24 votes separating the candidates, Republican Garrett Gobble announced Thursday he will ask for a recount in Iowa House District 42.

With all Polk County precincts reporting, his Democratic opponent Heather Matson is leading to winning the House seat. Matson had 50.1% of the votes while Gobble had 49.9%, according to unofficial results.

"Whether as your representative or your candidate, I've put my heart and soul into this district and given it my all, and I don’t intend to stop now," Gobble posted on his Facebook page. "In this instance, that means following the protocols laid out in state law for requesting a recount for a race within 50 votes."

The Associated Press has not called the race as of Thursday afternoon, though Matson claimed victory on Wednesday.

"I am grateful to the voters, countless volunteers, family and friends who made our victory in Ankeny possible," Matson told the Register in a text statement. "I look forward to these results being finalized and getting back to the Capitol to represent the people in my community."

Gobble, 27, narrowly defeated Matson in 2020 to flip party control of the seat.

Gobble earned his Bachelor's of History at the University of Iowa and works as a strategic partnership manager for Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates.

If re-elected, Gobble said he would work to provide quality education to all Iowa students. He said he also would work to "ease the tax burden" on his constituents.

Matson graduated with a master's in legislative affairs from George Washington University before making her way to Iowa.

Matson, 46, who is self-employed, said her focus would be on economic security and opportunity for Iowans.

"We will follow the process and accept the results of the recount with the confidence in knowing that we gave it everything we could," Gobble wrote on Facebook.

House District 43: Eddie Andrews defeats Suresh Reddy

Where: Johnston

In a tight race, Republican state Rep. Eddie Andrews fended off his Democratic challenger, Suresh Reddy to represent House District 43.

Andrews got 51% of the votes and Reddy got 49%, according to unofficial results.

The Associated Press called the win around noon Wednesday.

"We feel blessed that the voters have again selected me to represent them," Andrews told the Register.

Andrews, 56, was elected as a state representative in 2020.

His top issue is making improvements to mental health systems to serve children and adults.

He attended the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and UMass.

Suresh, a software engineer and current Johnston City Council member, told the Register his top issue would be protecting and fully funding public education in Iowa. Suresh, a first-term candidate, earned master's degrees in business and computer science from Iowa State and Bradley universities, respectively.

House District 44: John Forbes

Where: Urbandale

John Forbes, 65, ran unopposed to represent Iowa House District 29 for a sixth term.

Forbes grew up in Eagle Grove and obtained a bachelor's in pharmacy from Drake University.

He works as a pharmacist at Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale.

Forbes said he plans to ensure all Iowans have equal access to quality health care.

House District 45: Brian Lohse

Where: Rural Polk County

Republican Rep. Brian Lohse, 53, was the only candidate on the ballot for Iowa House District 45.

The district encompasses much of rural Polk County, including Bondurant, Mitchellville, Elkhart, Alleman, Polk City and Runnells. This will be his third term.

Lohse is the owner of Brick Street Market and Brick House Fitness.

He obtained his Bachelor's in Social Sciences from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and his Juris Doctorate from Drake University Law School.

Lohse said his focus will continue to be getting laws passed to make adoption in the state easier and less expensive.

Senate District 15: Tony Bisignano

Where: Much of the south side of Des Moines

Sen. Tony Bisignano
Sen. Tony Bisignano

Democratic Sen. Tony Bisignano was the only candidate on the ballot for Senate District 15.

Incumbent Bisignano is a retired human resources director for Polk County.

Bisignano served in the Iowa House from 1987 to 1993 and served one term in the Iowa Senate from 1993 to 1997. He has served two more terms since being elected to the Senate again in 2014.

Senate District 16: Claire Celsi defeats Bradley Price

Where: Windsor Heights, Clive, parts of West Des Moines

Republican attorney Bradley Price did not unseat Democratic Sen. Claire Celsi in Senate District 16.

Celsi received 58% of the vote to Price's 42%, according to unofficial results.

Celsi, 56, a small business owner, was elected to the Senate in 2018.

Celsi told the Register her top priority is "keeping public education strong."

Price, 41, works as an attorney and volunteers as a reading mentor and mock trial coach for middle and high schoolers. Price advocates for a return to civility in politics and "common sense compromises on issues" to best serve constituents.

Senate District 17: Izaah Knox wins three-way race

Where: Downtown Des Moines

Democrat Izaah Knox won a three-way race for the Iowa Senate District 17 seat.

Knox won with 77% of the vote, according to unofficial results. Libertarian ToyA Johnson had 13% and no party candidate Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz had 10%.

Knox, 45, serves as the executive director of Urban Dreams. He said he plans to tackle issues like keeping public funding in public schools, making sure Iowa communities have access to safe abortions and curbing gun violence.

He obtained bachelor's and master's degrees from Drake and an ABD and PhD from Iowa State University.

Johnson, 46, has received multiple professional certifications including a degree from DMACC and a traumatic brain injury certification from Iowa State University State Extension Program. Johnson, who works as a consultant/mediator at FreshStart Life Solutions, told the Register her top issue would have been to maintain liberties that the people of Iowa prize, such as "keeping government out of pocketbooks, bedrooms and medical decisions"

Murguia-Ortiz, 28, earned their bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Iowa and now works as a community organizer for immigrant and worker rights. Murguia-Ortiz says if elected, they would have advocated for a "direct democracy," a form of government allowing citizens to vote directly for ballot initiatives and measures.

Senate District 21: Mike Bousselot leads

Where: Ankeny 

State Rep. Mike Bousselot claimed victory over Democratic opponent Todd Brady to represent Senate District 21.

Bousselot, a Republican attorney and small business owner, got 51% of the votes while Brady, a software engineer, earned 49%, according to unofficial results. Though all precincts are reported, the Associated Press had not yet called the race by Wednesday evening.

"I am proud to have the support of Ankey and voters in Polk County and in Iowa," Bousselot said. "I will keep being a hard-working representative in the Iowa Senate now who listens to his community and is a principal voice for our values at the Capitol."

Brady appeared to concede the race on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.

"We may have lost our race last night, but I will continue to find ways to support our community the best I can," he wrote.

Bousselot, 39, currently serves as state representative for House District 37.

He said he'd prioritize helping Iowa families by promoting policies to foster good jobs and schools, and safe communities.

He obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from the University of Iowa before moving to Des Moines to attend Drake Law School.

Brady, 38, who earned his bachelor's degree in computer science from Iowa State University, is the creator of Vaccine Hunter, a website to help Iowans find COVID vaccine appointments. Brady said he wanted to find ways to lure people to Iowa, which "starts and ends" with prioritizing education and school funding.

Senate District 23: Jack Whitver defeats Matt Pries

Where: Northern and eastern Polk County, eastern Dallas County

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Des Moines, surrounded by other members of Iowa's Republican delegation, speaks to the crowd during the Iowa GOP election night celebration, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown.
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Des Moines, surrounded by other members of Iowa's Republican delegation, speaks to the crowd during the Iowa GOP election night celebration, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver claimed victory over Democrat opponent Matt Pries to represent Senate District 23.

Whitver got 58.7% of the votes and Pries, 41.3%, according to unofficial results.

Whitver moved from Ankeny to Iowa Senate District 23 after last year's redistricting process.

The district includes rural north Polk County, part of eastern Polk County and parts of eastern Dallas County, including some of Urbandale, Grimes, Granger, Alleman, Polk City, Elkhart and Runnells, some of which Whitver currently represents.

Whitver, 42, an attorney and business owner, declined to answer the Des Moines Register's questions about his top issues prior to the election.

Pries, 49, is a high school teacher and coach at the Waukee Community School District. He told the Register he planned to prioritize public education because of its impact on economic development, population and quality of life.

Virginia Barreda is the Des Moines city government reporter for the Register. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @vbarreda2

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Election results for the Iowa House and Senate in the Des Moines metro