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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Mary Mosiman, Rob Sand vie for office of Iowa State Auditor


One of many contested offices in this fall’s midterm election is the office of Iowa State Auditor. A lesser-known yet vital role, the State Auditor is tasked with overseeing government spending and preventing misuse of taxpayer dollars.

According to The Cedar Rapids Gazette, after being appointed to the position by then-Governor Terry Branstad, Mary Mosiman became the first ever woman to hold the office in the 2014 elections. She looks to defend her seat once again in 2018, this time against Democratic candidate Rob Sand, an established figure in Iowa politics whose legal expertise and record-breaking fundraising make him a formidable candidate. A Libertarian candidate, Fred Perryman, is also in the running.

The S&B spoke to Rachel Bly ’93, co-chair of the Poweshiek County Democrats, to learn what Sand might bring to the State Auditor’s office should he be elected this November.

“He’s really about making sure that the everyday person isn’t being taken advantage of,” she said, citing his work on a lottery fixing case and a recent Ponzi scheme, both of which affected people across the state. “There have been some cases in the last few years where cities have been taken advantage of and schools have been taken advantage of … There have been some things that have happened … that haven’t been caught.”

Bly suggested that Sand’s dedication to his work might help cut down on these oversights. When asked how the Sand campaign is engaging such a high number of voters and donors, she said, “I think it is Rob’s personality. You meet him and you want to give him money. When he talks about [the campaign], he’s passionate … and the Auditor’s office is not usually something to get passionate about.” That certainly seems to ring true for Sand’s donors, who pledged a record-breaking $400,000 to the campaign as of the July primary elections, The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports.

The Mosiman campaign has been quick to raise questions about Sand’s experience. For the past 40 years the position of State Auditor has been held by a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA. Sand has no such certification. Bly believes this is not an issue voters should be concerned about.

“I would argue, honestly, that his legal background … has probably given him as much background as he would need for this [position] as a CPA has.” Though it may be a useful and topical skill for a candidate to possess, the CPA is not an overt requirement for the position of State Auditor, according to Governing, a magazine that features articles about local government.

Like any incumbent, Mosiman is quick to tout her achievements — her campaign manager Jackie Cale concluded an e-mail to The S&B by writing, “Mary Mosiman is the most qualified candidate on the ballot!” Mosiman promises to build on the “over 1,000 audit reports … and over 100 fraud reports identifying $14 million of waste, fraud, and abuse in government entities” accumulated during her tenure. She also has 10 years of experience leading the Story County Auditor’s Office and five years of experience in her current position.

It could be difficult to excite voters about financial mismanagement, but Mosiman has found herself pitted against a dynamic opponent who has done just that in a time of considerable energy on the American left. Still, her campaign holds strong to the claim that experience is key: “Of the three candidates on the ballot, Mary Mosiman … has the most leadership experience and history-making accomplishments throughout her tenure … Only a CPA can fully perform the statutory duties of the office, and Mary Mosiman is the only CPA running for State Auditor.”

Whether voters value proven success, in the form of Mosiman, or a fresh perspective, in the form of Sand, is a question that will only be answered when voters go to the polls to cast their votes Nov. 6.

The Poweshiek County Republicans declined to comment for this story, and the Sand Campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Rob Sand (top) and Mary Mosiman (bottom) are both vying to be the Iowa State Auditor in the 2018 midterm elections.
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