Primary over, candidates now look toward November
EASTERN IOWA– Results of the June 5 primary election have been officially tabulated.
Canvasses for Johnson County were conducted early this week, showing clear winners in the contested primary races for seats in U.S. Congressional District 2 and Johnson County Auditor.
Candidate for U.S. Congressional District John Archer, an attorney from Bettendorf, beat opponent Dan Dolan, a homebuilder from Muscatine, for the Republican nomination, 58 percent to 42 percent in Johnson County. Iowa’s Second Congressional District covers 24 counties in Eastern Iowa, including Johnson County.
Archer will now face Democratic winner Dave Loebsack in the Nov. 6 general election. Loebsack cruised to an easy victory over opponent Joe Seng in Johnson County, garnering 91 percent of votes, compared to Seng’s 9 percent. Loebsack is in his third term in the U.S. House, having represented the second district since 2007. When the State Legislative Agency redistricted Iowa’s congressional districts last year, Loebsack moved from Mount Vernon to Iowa City in order to remain in the second district. Seng, a three-term state senator for Iowa and former state representative, owns and operates a veterinary hospital in Davenport. The second district’s registered voters are 34.5 percent Democratic, 29 percent Republican and 36 percent independent, according to the Iowa Secretary of State.
Dramatic differences were also reported in the race for Johnson County Auditor’s Democratic nomination, with Tiffin City Council member Travis Weipert ousting 35-year incumbent Tom Slockett, 68 to 32 percent. Slockett’s tenure has been marked by significant accomplishments for Johnson County voters, including establishing a record number of satellite voting stations, advancing the use of voting technology and increasing voting opportunities outside of one’s home precinct.
Slockett said last week he looks back on his years as county auditor with pride.
“I am honored to have been able to serve my constituents in Johnson County, whom I mightily respect, for 35 years,” Slockett said. “I have made lemonade out of lemons and it tastes pretty good. The most significant remaining challenge of this position will be the most difficult task of my 35 years of service. That task, in this the second fastest growing county in Iowa, is to conduct the upcoming presidential election. I look forward to it enthusiastically.”
Slockett said he has a lot to look forward to when he steps down from office this December 31.
“I am lucky to be in good health. I went all the way on RAGBRAI last year and am signed up to do the same this year. Starting next year I have many exciting interests, endeavors and challenges to pursue. Most importantly, I want to thank the people of Johnson County for the opportunities they have afforded me.”
However, Slockett’s time in office has also been marred, most recently by a complaint filed with Iowa’s Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board that determined Slockett had used government resources to support his re-election bid when he made campaign calls from his private cell phone while in the auditor’s office. Slockett received a reprimand for his actions. Another complaint claimed Slockett violated Iowa Code when he circulated his nomination petition among his staff during office hours; the board’s investigation report states that Slockett did not violate code simply by circulating his petition, and the 10 employees interviewed in the case said Slockett neither asked them to support his candidacy nor asked them not to support his opponent; however, the board opined, a violation may have occurred if other candidates were not afforded the same opportunity. The matter has been referred to Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness for further review.
Weipert, a senior accountant for Aegon, USA, has served on the Tiffin City Council since 2009. Weipert focused his campaign on increased efficiency in the auditor’s office, better voter education, collaboration among county offices and more fiscal responsibility in the county budget.
Last week, Weipert thanked all his supporters and those who helped with his campaign.
“We did a tremendous amount of work, and I want to thank everyone who was part of the campaign,” Weipert said, including those who made phone calls and went door-to-door to introduce him. “I believe that was the difference. Once I started door-knocking and talking to people, they realized I was very serious about what I was doing and became really engaged and wanted to talk to us.”
However, Weipert said, the real race is not yet won, even though no Republican candidate for auditor has been announced for the November election.
“We are playing it as a contested race,” he said. “We have parades scheduled, we are planning to do more mailings and going to local town functions and pancake breakfasts. We are focused on November; that is our goal.”
Also focused on November will be candidates for House District 77. Republican candidate Steve Sherman of North Liberty ran unopposed in the primary, and received 99 percent of Johnson County’s total votes. Sherman is a local businessman and self-published author, whose main campaign platforms center around keeping government regulations in check, lowering taxes to attract new business to the state and living within a balanced budget.
Running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the House District 77 race was candidate Sally Stutsman, a rural Lone Tree resident and farmer who has served for 17 years on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. Stutsman campaigns focues on rural issues, strenghtening health and human services and making decisions guided by thoughtful property tax reform, responsible land use planning and sensible spending of tax dollars. She received 98 percent of Johnson County’s votes in that uncontested race.
Stutsman and Sherman will run against each other in the November election to represent Iowa’s House District 77. Johnson County contains all of House District 77, covering city limits in North Liberty, Tiffin, Swisher and Shueyville, and crossing the county from the northwest to the southeastern corner, wrapping around Iowa City/Coralville’s House Districts 74, 85 and 86.