State Senator Joe Seng (D-Davenport) died on September 16, 2016.Photo credit: Iowa Senate Democrats
State Senator Joe Seng (D-Davenport) died on September 16, 2016.
Photo credit: Iowa Senate Democrats

(Des Moines, IA) Today Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation directing a special election to be held on December 27, 2016, for Iowa Senate District 45, following the recent death of State Senator Joe M. Seng (D-Davenport) after a long battle with cancer.

Seng was 69 years old, and announced in 2014 that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Seng was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2002, and was elected to a fourth term in 2014. Prior to serving in the Iowa Senate Seng served one term in the Iowa House of Representatives. He also previously served as Mayor ProTem and Alderman at large for the City of Davenport.

“I am saddened to hear of my friend Joe Seng’s passing,” Branstad said in a released statement.  “He bravely fought cancer for two years while continuing to serve his constituents at the statehouse.  Joe was a devout member of the Catholic Church and someone that I enjoyed working across the aisle with on life issues.  Joe was a true statesman that put party aside to work for the common good.  He will be dearly missed and I want to extend Chris and I’s thoughts and prayers with Mary and his entire family.”

“I served with Joe for many years in the Iowa Senate.  Joe was a passionate Catholic who carried his faith with him at all times when making decisions for his Davenport constituents.  Joe’s big heart and joyous attitude will be missed around the halls of the Capitol.  Mary and the Seng family are in my family’s thoughts and prayers,” Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds added in the same released statement.

“Joe Seng lived his Catholic faith through his words and his actions. That included running a veterinary practice that served families from all walks of life, operating restaurants and other businesses, and helping a variety of agencies and charities that served low-income families,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said in a released statement.

The Governor’s office said that Branstad considers November 8, 2016 to be the best date for the special election as it would coincide with the general election. They said it would ensure high voter turnout and would save the expense of having another election. The Iowa Code allows a county auditor to prevent a special election from taking place on the same day of the election if the county auditor believes their are undue difficulties administering both elections.

The Scott County Auditor, Roxanna Moritz, informed the Governor’s office that she believed a special election on November 8th would cause undue difficulties.  Because of her objection and the six week blackout period surrounding a general election, the special election for Senate District 45 can occur no sooner than December and Branstad then chose Tuesday, December 27, 2016 as the date.

Senate District 45 is comprised of portions of Scott County.  A full district map can be found here.

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