By any standard, the midterm election had been a landslide for Iowa Republicans. Last November, the party won back the governorship, gained a majority in the General Assembly and nearly took the Senate, leaving a perilous 26-to-24 edge there as the Democrats’ sole claim to power.
But, as frustrated Republicans would soon discover, that sliver of a majority was enough to halt much of their conservative legislation from ever being debated, let alone voted on, including bills on property taxes, business regulation, education, abortion and, most controversially, a ballot measure to reverse the state’s distinction as one of the few to permit same-sex marriage.
... Though both candidates have insisted that the race will be decided on local issues, the statewide implications have consistently risen to the fore — staff members for both party leaders in the Senate have been out knocking on doors. Most discussed is the future of same-sex marriage in the state, an issue that has featured prominently in state elections since the unanimous 2009 ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court that overturned a state law limiting marriage to unions between a man and woman.
Groups opposed to same-sex marriage, including the National Organization for Marriage, are sending fliers for Ms. Golding, and supporters of same-sex marriage have been volunteering on behalf of Ms. Mathis.
"We see it as a great opportunity to break the handcuffs, to advance some pro-family issues, primarily the marriage vote,” said Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, who led the successful effort last year to vote out three State Supreme Court justices because of the same-sex marriage ruling.