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Poweshiek County Republicans and Democrats prepare for midterms

As the June 7 Iowa midterm elections approach, the Poweshiek County Republicans and Democrats held their county conventions on March 12 and March 26, respectively.  

This primary will be the first election after the 2020/21 redistricting, so Grinnell is now within Iowa House of Representatives District 53 and Iowa State Senate District 27. Candidates are running for State House and State Senate, and at the local level there are two spots are open for County Supervisor.  

Jason Roudabush is a current supervisor for Poweshiek County, and he will be running again along with the other Democratic candidate, Paul Pohlson.  

On the Republican side, there is one candidate running for county supervisor, Montezuma farmer Jeff Tindle.  

“He is our only candidate for supervisor. We struggle with recruiting candidates at the moment,” said Brant Smothers, chair of the Poweshiek County Republicans.  

The current Iowa State House District 53 candidates from the Republican party are Dave Maxwell and Dean Fisher. Dave Maxwell is the current representative of Poweshiek County and Dean Fisher is of Tama County, but due to redistricting, they will be up against each other in this election.  

Democratic candidate Sarah Smith is running again for the State House seat. She ran in the last election before the redistricting. She is also the daughter of Pohlson, the Democratic Poweshiek County supervisor candidate.  

For the Iowa State Senate, Sam Cox, owner of Saint’s Rest Coffee House, is campaigning for the Democratic Party. She will run against a current Republican State Senator Annette Sweeny whose district has also shifted since the last election 

In addition to the discussion of the new candidates in the primary election, major party issues were also brought up at the county conventions. At the Republican County Convention, three new planks were added to their platform. 

“One was opening up the Keystone pipeline. Another one was to finish the border wall construction and have remain country of origin laws passed. And then the last one was to eliminate the ESG for the social currency, and eliminate that from business and private, personal loans,” said Smothers. 

Smothers wants to emphasize issues at the county level for future convention.  “I would like to steer the party in my remaining time as chair towards a more local-focused type of look. More local focus issues as my main drive, you know? … How are we going to recruit businesses to our area?” he said.  

At the Democratic Poweshiek County convention, business was also brought up in the discussion of local issues, specifically the labor market in Poweshiek County. “Not just jobs, but sort of labor issues, like the fact that we have a labor shortage … fair wages,” said Rachel Bly, chair of the Poweshiek County Democrats.  

Other local issues for the Democrats included the Keystone pipeline, education, the recent transgender bill in the Iowa legislature and mental health, according to Bly. The Democrats also announced their gubernatorial candidate, Deidre DeJear. DeJear will be running against current Governor Kim Reynolds, who is up again for reelection.  

“There were two or three folks running again for [governor]. There was going to be a primary. But everyone else dropped. Everyone else in the Democrats dropped out,” said Bly.  

Beyond the state legislature, other races in the upcoming primary include the U.S. House candidates. Democrat Iowa State Senator Liz Mathis will be running against Republican Ashley Hinson, a current U.S. representative for Iowa. Hinson is running unopposed in the Republican primary.   

For the U.S. Senate, the  Democrats will face a contested primary race between three candidates: Abby Finkenauer, Michael Franken and Glenn Hurst.  Republican Chuck Grassley, Iowa’s current senator, will be running again, but he will have an opponent in the primaries ––  Iowa State Senator Jim Carlin. Smothers said he anticipates Grassley will beat Carlin because of Grassley’s age and experience.  

The Iowa 2022 primary election will take place on Tuesday, June 7. Absentee voting will be available either by mail or in-person. Early in-person voting at the Poweshiek County auditor’s office starts on Monday, May 4. A mailed absentee ballot can be requested from the auditor’s office until May 22.  

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