Republican State Senate candidate Mark Segebart meets with supporters during an election party at Santa Maria Winery following Tuesday&rsquo;s election. Segebart defeated Mary Bruner and will represent the 6th District. <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photos by Jeff Storjohann</em></span>
Republican State Senate candidate Mark Segebart meets with supporters during an election party at Santa Maria Winery following Tuesday’s election. Segebart defeated Mary Bruner and will represent the 6th District. Daily Times Herald photos by Jeff Storjohann
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crawford County Supervisor Mark Segebart Tuesday earned the Iowa Senate District 6 seat with a commanding victory over Carroll Democrat Mary Bruner. Segebart carried all five counties in the sweeping new political territory on his way to a 57 percent to 43 percent win.

“It’s a little overwhelming to think that you could win a race like this when six months before most of the people that have voted for me had never heard of me before,” Segebart said.

Segebart celebrated his win with U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, at the Santa Maria Vineyard & Winery, an election-night gathering spot for hundreds of Republicans from western and central Iowa.

According to unofficial election results from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, Segebart captured his home county with 70 percent of the vote. He performed well on Bruner’s home turf, carding a 53 percent to 47 percent margin in Carroll County. Segebart won Audubon County 55 percent to 45 percent, and Sac County 65 percent to 35 percent. The district includes all of Audubon, Carroll, Sac and Buena Vista counties and part of Crawford County.

Segebart said it is clear the district lines up with him on core philosophical issues.

“I think the social issues, pro-life, traditional marriage, are the values of the 6th District,” Segebart said. “People hold that dear to their heart. That’s what starts it off.”

Segebart said the social issues were key in Carroll County.

“One of the driving forces for me since I started doing any kind of political action was the right to life, and Carroll and its population and its faith groups are very strong pro-life people, and having that as the first issue I think set things up for all the rest of the issues,” Segebart said.

Bruner took an anti-abortion position as well, although she would have allowed for legal exceptions in the cases of rape and incest and in situations where the life of the mother is in jeopardy as a result of pregnancy. Segebart is opposed to the rape and incest exceptions.

Segebart said he didn’t think voters doubted Bruner’s pro-life credentials. They took issue with the Democratic Party as a whole on abortion, which cost Bruner, Segebart said.

“The problem is if Mary would have won, I’m glad she’s pro-life, but if her party continued control, that issue would never come up,” Segebart said.

In June Segebart emerged from a three-candidate GOP primary, carrying four of the five counties that comprise Iowa Senate District 6 to capture the Republican nomination.

Segebart won 47 percent of the vote. Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers pulled 40 percent, and Sac County Deputy Matt Biede of Schaller received 13 percent, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office and county auditors. Schweers — who was in attendance at the winery Tuesday — carried Carroll County handily in the primary.

Shortly after he announced his candidacy for the Senate seat, Segebart had to deal with a significant wrinkle in his plans as Gov. Terry Branstad recruited Schweers and then publicly endorsed the Carroll mayor in a high-profile event at the winery before the primary.

Segebart said he bears no ill will toward the governor as a result of that maneuvering.

“It feels good to win,” Segebart said. “I don’t carry a grudge for anybody and I feel for my opponent because I know how hard she worked and how important it was to them. It takes guts, and I’m not talking about myself, but it takes guts for anybody to stand up and throw their hat in the ring and run for office.”

Segebart said he is going to be “happy” to work with Branstad.

“Things that he’s working on, I want to work on those very same issues,” Segebart said.

For her part, Bruner, who followed election results at home with her extended family, said she learned a great deal about her native Carroll County and the rest of the district and its people. The experience, she said, changed her life for the better.

“The stories I heard will impact me forever,” she said.

Bruner said she didn’t want to analyze any particular issues and how they may have played with voters.

“All I know is I really felt like I did all I could to get out and meet voters,” Bruner said.