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On June 7, the members of the Democratic Party and Republican Party picked who will represent them in Congress, at the State Capitol, and in local county courthouses.  Unfortunately it appears that most of the voters' attention has been focused this year on the Presidential elections, and many Iowans forgot about these other important races on the June 7 Primary Election ballot.  

Only one in ten registered voters exercised their right to vote on June 7 - the lowest turnout since 2004. According to Secretary of State Paul Pate's twitter feed, only 9.75% of registered Iowa voters exercised their civic duty and voted in the primary.  We hope our readers all got out to the polls - because the results were close in some areas!   Here's a quick recap of the primary results.  You can see all results on the Secretary of State's website here.

Congressional Races

  • Former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Lt. Governor Patty Judge will be the Democratic candidate for US Senate, going up against US Senator Chuck Grassley.  She defeated popular State Senator Rob Hogg, former state representative Bob Krause, and former state senator Tom Fiegan.  Sen. Hogg was in the middle of his four-year term, so he will return to the State Capitol next year.

  • Monica Vernon was chosen to be the Democratic candidate for Congress against US Representative Rod Blum in Iowa's First Congressional Distict. Vernon defeated former state representative Pat Murphy.

  • Jim Mowrer won his three-way primary and will be the Democratic candidate for Congress against US Representative David Young in Iowa's Third Congressional District. He defeated entrepreneur Desmond Adams and businessman Mike Sherzan. 

  • US Representative Steve King survived a primary challenge from State Senator Rick Bertrand in Iowa's Fourth Congressional District.  He will continue to represent the Republican party in the November election, where he will face Democrat Kim Weaver, who works as a state long-term care ombudsman.  Sen. Bertand is also in the middle of his four-year term, so he too will return to the Capitol next year.

Iowa Senate Races

Since Senators are elected to four-year terms, only half of the Iowa Senate is up for re-election this year.  The 25 Senators representing even numbered Senate districts are up for re-election. No current State Senators faced primaries this year.

  • Labor lawyer Nate Boulton defeated Pam Dearden Conner for the State Senate seat being vacated by Dearden Conner's father Dick Dearden.  This close race was decided by about 171 votes.  Boulton will be the Democratic candidate; there currently is no Republican candidate in this race.
  • 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats have no opponents (yet).  The local party central committees still have time to nominate someone to run against them.  These include Republican Senators Costello, Feenstra, Guth, Kapucian, Rozenboom, Segebart, and Sinclair; Democratic Senator Petersen; and Democratic nominee Nate Boutlon.

  • 10 Democratic and 6 Republican State Senators have opponents for the November election.  They include Republican Senators Behn, Breitbach, Chapman, Schneider, Zaun, and Zumbach; and Democratic Senators Brase, Courtney, Danielson, Gronstal, Jochum, Mathis, Schoenjahn, Sodders, Taylor, and Wilhelm.

Iowa House Races

All of Iowa's 100 State Representatives are up for re-election this year.

  • 9 State Representatives faced primary elections this year; all but one of them were successful.  Those successful include Republicans Greg Forristall, Stan Gustafson, Jake Highfill, Jarad Klein, and Kevin Koester; and Democrats Mary Gaskill, Brian Meyer, and Jo Oldson.  Wes Breckenridge, a Lieutenant in the Newton Police Department, defeated State Representative Dan Kelley of Newton.  Breckenridge got 65% of the vote and will be the Democratic candidate for House District 29, facing Republican lawyer Pat Payton.  This is now an open race - meaning no current legislator is on the November ballot.  Rep. Kelley will continue to represent his constituents until a new legislator is sworn in on January 9, 2017.

  • Nearly half of Iowa's current State Representatives are running unopposed - 18 Republicans and 22 Democrats.  They include Republican Representatives Baxter, Deyoe, Dolecheck, Forristall, Holt, Holz, Huseman, Jones, Kaufmann, Klein, Mommsen, Moore, Sexton, Sieck, R. Taylor, Upmeyer, VanderLinden, and Wills; and Democratic Representatives Abdul-Samad, Bearinger, Brown-Peters, Cohoon, Finkenauer, Gaines, Gaskill, Hanson, Heddens, Hunter, Isenhart,  Jacoby, Kearns, Lensing, Lykam, Mascher, Meyer, Oldson, Running-Marquardt, Smith, Staed, and WInckler.

  • Currently 12 legislators are not seeking re-election, leaving their House seats open (that is, no incumbent running).  This includes Rep. Tom Sands (R-Muscactine), who made the surprise announcement last week that he would not seek re-election and is withdrawing his name from the ballot.  He was the only person on the ballot this year for House District 88 - so the leaders of the local Democrat and Republican parties will now have to select candidates at convention since the primaries have past.  Others not seeking re-election include Republicans Branhagen, Byrnes, Jorgenson, Kooiker, L. Miller, Moore, and Paulsen; and Democrats Berry, Dawson, Dunkel, and Stutsman.  Four of these "open seats" have only one candidate (meaning if no one else runs, they will win in November). Rep. Berry's seat has one Democrat running; Rep. Linda Miller's seat has one Republican running; no one is running in Rep. Sands' seat (yet); and no Democrat is running for Rep. Kooiker's seat.

  • That means 31 Republican Representatives and 16 Democratic Representatives have opponents and will have to campaign for their seats in November.

The only thing you can predict about elections is that they are unpredictable.  The Presidential election could have an impact on local races - will the candidates bring out new voters? will people stay home and not vote in protest of their party's Presidential candidate? will people vote a straight party-line ticket?  will it be snowing on Election Day (November 8)?  will a flu bug keep people home?  There are many factors that could change this election.  Remember, the last two can be addressed by early voting (either in-home by absentee ballot, or in your county auditor's office or another satellite voting location).

Watch for more information about voting in the coming months, and consider getting together with others in your area to host an ID Action Voter Training!  Click here for more information about this.