Former TV anchor to make bid for open state senate seat

Democrats today revealed former TV anchor Liz Mathis, a well-known name in eastern Iowa, is hoping to run in the special election to replace State Senator Swati Dandekar, a Democrat from Marion who resigned so Governor Brasntad could appoint her to the Iowa Utilities Board.  The resignation set up a high-stakes battle between the parties, as a Republican victory in the district would pitch the Iowa Senate into a 25-25 split.  Republicans and Democrats in the Marion area will soon hold nominating convention to select the two nominees who will face off in the November 8 special election.

Read Mathis’ news release below:

Liz Mathis announced today that she will seek the Democratic nomination for Iowa Senate District 18 in the upcoming special election to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Swati Dandekar of Marion.

“People all over are trying to get back on their feet from this lingering national recession,” Mathis said. “They need jobs and they need stability for their families, and all we’re getting from our government is gridlock. It must change. I pledge to work with Democratic and Republican legislators and Governor Branstad to make a difference for the people in District 18.”

Mathis added: “We need new policies that will help our Main Street businesses thrive, bring in business and spur job growth in our local communities.  My husband and I have experienced that first-hand in our family’s business.  That’s one of many reasons I’m running. We also need to stop short-changing our educational system and we need to address support of our area’s most vulnerable children who are affected by poverty and neglect. I am passionate about those things.”

Mathis currently works for a child welfare and juvenile justice agency, Four Oaks, and its affiliates, the Affordable Housing Network and Iowa KidsNet. She is Chief Information Officer, overseeing legislative advocacy, public relations, marketing and development. Mathis currently is an Ohnward Bank Board Director with branches in Marion and Cedar Rapids and sits on the Wartburg College Board of Regents.

Mathis was a news anchor, reporter and producer at KCRG-TV from 1998 to 2007. Prior to KCRG, Mathis spent 16 years at KWWL-TV in Waterloo, where she was an executive producer and first female co-anchor of the evening news. She also taught communication studies and first amendment law at Wartburg College from 1996-1998.

Mathis and her husband, Mark, who owns the advertising agency ME&V, live near Robins and have two children.  She grew up on a farm in rural Iowa and is a University of Iowa graduate.

“I’ve spent my professional career in the communications business,” Mathis said. “I’ve listened to a lot of people in our community tell their stories. I love helping people connect and making things happen. My campaign will focus on reaching out to as many people as I can in Senate District 18. I’m going to knock on doors, meet them and hear what they have to say. I’m running to represent the people of Senate District 18 and I’m ready to go to work for them.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. […] Note" Mathis made it official. Read the press release on O. Kay Henderson's site here.] It has been heard from a number of sources, including Todd Dorman at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, […]