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The Scarlet & Black

Dawn Driscoll takes home the win in 38th District Senate race


Dawn Driscoll (R), 43, has won the race to replace Tim Kapucian (R) in the Iowa Senate’s District 38 seat.

With 64% of the district vote (21,194 votes total, 5,340 from Poweshiek County) to Democrat Ivy Schuster’s 36%, she was carried to victory by her coalition of mostly rural voters.

Driscoll, who lives in Williamsburg in Iowa County is a lifelong farmer and agricultural lobbyist. She defeated Schuster, 33, who works in the Office of Information and Technology Services at Grinnell College.

Driscoll raised $237,408 to her opponent’s $111,810, giving her the edge in a district that has historically leaned Republican. Prompted to run by outgoing senator Kapucian, Driscoll ran a low-key campaign that focused primarily on rural and agricultural issues.

She has consistently referenced water quality as one of the primary issues facing SD-38, which comprises Benton, Iowa and Poweshiek counties. As a farmer herself, Driscoll supports environmental regulations that favor agriculture and protect rural farmers.

Like Schuster, Driscoll moved much of her campaign to the internet and phone banking after the pandemic hit. While she supports voluntary measures to fight COVID-19, Driscoll does not support state or local requirements for citizens to wear masks. She is largely supportive of the state government’s response to the pandemic and has repeatedly stressed the need to prioritize economic recovery.

As a mother of three, Driscoll has stressed her support for public education. She has also sought to draw attention to her support for local law enforcement.

Schuster, a Poweshiek County native, cruised to victory in the Democratic primary. Hoping to put SD-38 into Democratic hands for the first time since 2012, she raised significantly more money than any Democratic candidate in previous years. She ran a progressive campaign, making social issues such as gender equality and civil rights a large part of her platform.

Although only winning the Republican primary by 45 percent of the vote, Driscoll made a strong showing at the polls on the day of the general election. While this victory represents Driscoll’s first foray into electoral politics, she is no stranger to Des Moines or the Iowa state legislature, having spent a number of years as an agricultural lobbyist, and is currently the acting president of the Iowa County Farm Bureau.

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