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DES MOINES — Senate Democrats, their numbers at the highest level ever, on Sunday rewarded top leaders with another two years in office and vowed to tackle a state budget that’s struggling because of the economic slowdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, and Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg, won new two-year terms without opposition.
Some projections show lawmakers heading into next year’s session with a shortfall of up to $600 million because of spending already on the books and a drop in state revenues in the face of tough financial times.
However, Gronstal said the state is in a good position to tackle its economic troubles.
Democrats now control the Senate by a 32-18 margin.
Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, is in the midst of a re-count, but has been re-elected by fellow Democrats to another two years as president pro tem of the Senate.
Democratic Sens. Stacy Appel of Ackworth, Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City, Jack Hatch of Des Moines, Bill Heckroth of Waverly and Amanda Ragan of Mason City, were elected assistant leaders.
Sen. Tom Courtney of Burlington won another term as majority whip.