Right-wing candidates lose in Linn-Mar despite national push

2023 Linn-Mar School Board candidates

By Ty Rushing

November 7, 2023

For more than a year, outrage over a policy to protect transgender and nonbinary students hung a black cloud over the Linn-Mar School District, but Tuesday’s school board elections served as a referendum for supporters of the policy that was later gutted by state lawmakers.

Incumbents Barry Bucholz (4,637 votes, or 14.46%), and Brittania Morey (4,278 votes, or 13.34%), held onto their seats.

Left-leaning candidates Justin Foss (4,545 votes, or 14.17%) and Katie Lowe Lancaster (4,596 votes, or 14.33%) joined them in filling this year’s four open at-large seats.

Conservative candidates Tom Law (2,973 votes), Kevin Slaman (3,143 votes), Laura Steffeck (3,306), and Jodi Terharne (3,004)—who counted Moms for Liberty among their supporters—were unable to win a single seat despite courting voters angry over the board’s previous policy.

That policy, which has since been outlawed by state law, codified then-existing practices that respect transgender and nonbinary students’ identities at school.

It allowed students to create Gender Support Plans and go by their preferred name and pronouns and potentially use the school facilities that match their identity. For students in seventh grade and up, a teen’s decision on their gender identity did not have to be forcibly shared with their family, who in some cases may not approve.


  • Ty Rushing

    Ty Rushing is the Chief Political Correspondent for Iowa Starting Line. He is a trail-blazing veteran Iowa journalist, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. Send tips or story ideas to [email protected] and find him on social media @Rushthewriter.



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