Republicans reign supreme at the polls
By ANDREW McGINN
In short, 54.41 percent of Greene County voters went to the polls Tuesday to put a stop to the barrage of political ads.
By and large, local voters ended up choosing Republicans in the 2014 midterm election, from Joni Ernst for the U.S. Senate on down to the county board of supervisors.
Republicans Dawn Rudolph and Tom Contner each won their bids for re-election as supervisors.
The race for county treasurer emerged as one of the few bright spots locally for Democrats, with longtime treasurer Donna Lawson easily winning re-election over Republican challenger Kristi Holz with 65.7 percent of the vote.
In other local contests, voters in Jefferson chose to renew a 10-year, 1-percent Local Option Sales Tax to repair and maintain the city’s infrastructure, with 60.9 percent of the vote to 39.1 percent.
Paton Mayor Brad Robey won re-election as a write-in candidate.
In all, 6,806 registered Greene County voters cast 3,703 ballots, according to the Greene County Auditor’s Office, just below the 54.68 percent that turned out to vote in the 2010 midterm.
In each of the statewide races, Greene County voters pulled no surprises, handily sending Ernst to Capitol Hill with 56.9 percent of the vote to Democrat Bruce Braley’s 37.7 percent.
Outspoken Republican Congressman Steve King won re-election with 58.4 percent of the Greene County vote to Democrat Jim Mowrer’s 41.2 percent.
And in the race for governor, Greene County backed incumbent Terry Branstad’s bid to become the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, with 63.2 percent of the vote to Democrat Jack Hatch’s 32.2 percent.
Boone Republican Chip Baltimore will also continue to represent Greene County at the Statehouse, winning re-election over Boone Democrat Hans Erickson in Iowa House District 47.
Greene County voters gave Baltimore a resounding seal of approval with 67.8 percent of the vote to Erickson’s 32.1 percent.
At the county level, Contner won a second term to the board of supervisors with 59.9 percent of the vote to Democrat Randy Monthei’s 39.9 percent.
“I have a problem patting myself on the back,” Contner confessed Wednesday morning, “but I pride myself on listening to people and helping them any way I can.”
Contner said it’s his hope to give county property owners some tax relief in the near future.
“I want to be a straight-shooter for everybody,” he said.
In the other county supervisor race, Rudolph won a three-way contest against Democrat Kevin Fitzpatrick Sr. and independent Shane Olson with 49.3 percent of the vote.
A first-time candidate from Churdan, Olson on Wednesday was upbeat in his assessment of the race, vowing to get more involved and expressing appreciation for the people he got to meet along the way.
Unfortunately, he explained, his status as an independent likely doomed his campaign. He drew 20.9 percent of the vote, which goes to show that yard signs only go so far.
Olson had 200 signs posted around the county.
“What really killed me was the straight-ticket voting,” he said. “I knew going in as an independent, it was going to be tough because people are die-hard Republican or Democrat, and one party is mad at the other.”
In Greene County, 871 voters cast straight-ticket ballots, with 454 of them voting straight Republican.
“It was an electorate upset with the status quo,” David Morain, co-chairman of the Greene County Democrats, said of the election, particularly at the federal level. “Joni Ernst seemed to be someone who was anti-Washington and wanted to make Washington squeal, and that appealed to a lot of people in a visceral way.”
The win by Ernst, a state senator from Red Oak, helped give Republicans control of the U.S. Senate.
“Well, now they’re in charge,” Morain said. “Now they actually have to govern.
“Hopefully, something good comes from this.”