Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Iowa Rejects NOM's Candidate in Special Election for State House Representative

Iowa's Jefferson County Supervisor Stephen Burgmeier, the GOP candidate backed by the National Organization for Marriage with $86,080 in funds, lost Tuesday's special election for an empty seat in the state's House by 107 votes to Democratic candidate Curt Hanson.

NOM's involvement in the race caused the Iowa Elections and Campaign Disclosure Board to send a warning to the organization as well as a formal complaint filed against them by One Iowa and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund and Ethics.

This was a closely watched race because many viewed it as a litmus test to see how the Iowans felt about the state's recent legalization of marriage equality. Burgmeier was an outspoken opponent of the Iowa Supreme Court's decision allowing same-sex marriage.

However, the Des Moines Register reports, "Campaign reports filed five days before Tuesday's election show that Burgmeier and Hanson had raised nearly $313,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. That total doesn't include money raised in the last days of the election or the $86,080 spent on television ads on behalf of Burgmeier by the National Organization for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Both candidates support allowing a constitutional vote on whether Iowa should ban same-sex marriage." (emphasis mine)

Unite the Fight reader Jay Johnson put it well in a comment on an earlier post, "So, while I am glad that NOM did not succeed in electing their candidate, the results of this race may not be much comfort for those of us who support marriage equality."

We'll just have to keep vigilant. For continual updates, stay tuned to Unite the Fight, and for Iowa specifically, sign up for One Iowa's updates.

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