BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Voters in Lee County sent Democrats Jeff Kurtz and Rich Harlow to the general election with overwhelming victories in Tuesday’s primary election.
Kurtz, a retired Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee from Fort Madison, knocked off Fort Madison City Councilman Bob Morawitz handily 904-546. Kurtz came in with 292 absentees to Morawitz’s 207. The only precinct Morawitz won was his home 2nd district in Fort Madison 38-31. Kurtz will now square off against Jeff Riechman, a Republican from Keokuk, in the general election.
Michael Hardy, who withdrew from the election, but not until the deadline had passed, picked up 146 votes.
In the District 3 Lee County Supervisor race Rich Harlow of Fort Madison knocked off Larry Haynes of rural Donnellson 304-114. Harlow will now face Keokuk’s James Steffen, a republican, in the general election.
Kurtz was unable to be reached for comment late Tuesday night, but Haynes said he congratulates Kurtz on the win and the postive campaign.
“He did well on absentees and when I saw that I said I’m going to have trouble making up 60 votes,” Haynes said Tuesday night. “I wish them all well. I wish him well against Jim. He ran a good race and I hope the race between him and Jim is run the same way.”
Haynes said he isn’t through with politics and still has some campaigning left in him.
“I’ll probably try it again. I won’t say I won’t but I’m arrogant that way,” he said. “I don’t feel bad – the system did what it’s supposed to do. In four years will I be ready… yeah.”
Harlow said he worked hard and new voter turnout would be low considering it was a primary election. He said it’s hard to get people to come out to primary elections, but he’s hoping for a better turnout in the regular election.
“I was very encouraged by the results I got,” Harlow said. “I’m very thankful and appreciative of the voters in my district. Now we have to do this all over again in the general election.”
Harlow said he was happy it was a positive campaign and it did not get ugly.
“I did learn, however, that people like to steal yard signs for various reasons including you can wrap them with white paper of use them for yard sales,” Harlow quipped.
In the state race, Morawitz said he was disappointed with the loss, but still has a lot to do in Fort Madison as a city councilman.
“I congratulated Jeff on his victory. He had a well-run campaign and even though I worked hard, I didn’t get the crowd he did,” Morawitz said.
“I’m disappointed, but then I’m not because I’ve got things here I need to get done and I will concentrate on that.”
Morawitz said he felt some people might have been disappointed that he wanted to leave the council and go to the state and that may have cost him votes.
In the other races of note, Fred Hubbell won in Lee County for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Hubbell tallied 770 votes far outpacing the next closest candidate, which just happened to be Nate Boulton who had 381 votes, however 237 of those votes were cast absentee, and Boulton pulled out of the contest late after allegations broke of sexual misconduct.
Hubbell was declared the winner of the statewide primary with more than 95,000 votes or 55% of the votes cast with 83% of precincts reporting at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night.
The next closest Democrat was Cathy Glasson, who had 301 total votes in Lee County, had more than 35,000 or 20% statewide.
The Secretary of State contest was closer in Lee County between Democrats Diedre DeJear and Jim Mowner. DeJear won with 859 votes to Mowner’s 786. The contest had not been called at 11:53 p.m. by state officials with DeJear holding a 51.2% to 48.8% advantage.