Absentees not enough to offset, heavy local Republican precinct voting
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Absentee balloting fizzled like a balloon with a leak for Lee county democrats Tuesday night.
With just over 9,400 absentee ballots being reported in Tuesday night’s general election in Lee County, and more than 16,000 ballots total ballots cast in the county, Republican’s Garry Seyb Jr., Jeff Reichman, and Martin Graber all unseated incumbent Democrats for county and state offices.
“I would definitely say that, obviously, if you were predicting results this would be a shocker,” said Graber who knocked off first-term State Representative Jeff Kurtz for the 83rd District State Representative’s seat.
“But at the same token I’m not really shocked. The Lee County Republican team has been out doing their work and running the headquarters. This is a multi-year effort. The challenge now is to make sure we go and get something done.
“I want to say thank you to all the people who supported me either financially or with time. Without them we wouldn’t have been victorious.”
Graber defeated Kurtz by about 800 votes 6,959-6,194. Kurtz won in absentee voting by almost 1,100 but the Republican in-person turn out was too much to overcome with Graber winning in every single precinct in the county.
Reichman knocked off District 42 State Senator Rich Taylor, who was trying for a fourth term and is currently an Assistant Democratic Leader and ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Reichman won with almost 60% of the vote, 16,738-11,211. Lee County voters chose Reichman 9,604-6,821.
Reichman said he was called and congratulated by Gov. Kim Reynolds at about 11 p.m. before the county’s absentee results had been published.
“How exciting was that. I get a call from a friend who’s sitting with former Gov. Terry Branstad, who congratulated me, and then Gov. Reynolds calls,” Reichman said.
“Should we say a referendum on the Democratic party?,” Reichman said. “They’ve revealed how far left they’ve gone. I’m about manufacturing and helping out labor and the working man to increase his standard of living and succeed.”
“That really says something for Lee County. I think people are sick of sticking their finger in light socket and made a change. Now we need to deliver something positive in Lee County. Get some growth and turn this county around and make a positive.”
First time candidate Garry Seyb, Jr, unseated County Supervisor Gary Folluo for the District 4 County Supervisor seat. Seyb was unavailable for comment late Tuesday.
The District 84 State Representative was retained by Joe Mitchell (R-Wayland) in another easy win for the 23-year old, who was the youngest representative in the House the past two years.
Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber received 13,970 votes in an uncontested race. Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise received 13,180. Lee County Supervisor Matt Pflug got 2,275 votes and Supervisor Ron Fedler got 3,100 votes again in uncontested races.
In a crazy race for the District 2 Congressional seat vacated by Dave Loebsack, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Ottumwa) held a slim 282-vote lead. That vote could be challenged due to the slim margin of victory over Democrat Rita Hart.
Hart (D-Wheatland) opened a quick lead over Miller-Meeks in early returns, but the trend turned as heavy returns came in. The absentee additions pushed the race to almost a dead heat. Lee County voters broke 9,136 to 6,966 in favor of Miller-Meeks.
In the 1st District, Abby Finkenauer had doubled up Republican Ashley Hinson early on, but trailed by 10,700 with just two counties to report at 12:30 a.m.
The 3rd District race between Republican David Young and Democrat Cindy Axne was close the whole night, but Axne pulled away a bit and held a 6,200 vote lead with just two counties left to report.
In District 4 J.D. Scholten gave Republican Randy Feenstra a run in the conservative northwest portion of the state early, but Feenstra ran away as precinct reporting came in and took 62% of the vote in that district.
Joni Ernst will hold her seat despite a valiant run from Democrat Theresa Greenfield. Ernst pulled away in late voting with a 858,040-750,400. Lee County voters went 8,482-7,440 in favor of Ernst.
In the presidential race, Lee County voters again circled the oval for President Donald Trump, 9,763 to 6,539. That race had not been finalized before publication.