District 25 stays red: Sweeney fends off Democratic challenge in state senate special election

Special election

AREA- State Senator-elect Annette Sweeney faced the daunting task of mounting a special election campaign in just three weeks after the abrupt resignation of former Majority Leader Bill Dix, but she also held a pair of key advantages: built-in name recognition and an almost two-to-one ratio of registered Republicans to Democrats. The former state representative and USDA Director of Rural Development captured over 57 percent of the votes cast in Butler County on her way to a relatively easy win over Dike small businesswoman Tracy Freese, a first time candidate with no prior experience in elected office.


            “I never count my chickens before they hatch, and I was so pleased by how the voters turned out. The team we had on the ground was absolutely incredible,” Sweeney said. “I think it stems from me advocating for rural Iowa—not just the farmers, but also everyone else.”

            Sweeney, who celebrated the victory at Babe’s Steakhouse in Radcliffe, won handily in the mostly rural counties of Butler, Grundy and Hardin that comprise District 25, while her opponent carried the more suburban areas of Story County that include Nevada, Roland and Huxley surrounding Ames. In all, the GOP candidate received 4,742 votes to Freese’s 3,726, a 56 to 44 percent spread.

            Republican Hardin County Supervisor and Grundy Center native BJ Hoffman, one of Sweeney’s most vocal supporters, expressed a cautious sense of relief upon learning of the outcome.


Read more in the April 19 edition of the STAR or TRIBUNE.