Supervisor candidates Keehner, Doeppke emerge from Republican primary

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Steve Doeppke

Lori Egan

Sharon Keehner

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times editor


Iowans headed to the polls in high numbers for the June 5 primary election.

As of June 1, there were 1,964,522 active registered voters in the state, surpassing the previous high of 1,956,723 heading into the 2010 June primary, according to a statement from Secretary of State Paul Pate.

“It has never been easier to register to vote in Iowa,” Pate said. “When I returned to this office in 2015, I immediately focused on reforms like online voter registration and the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. Almost 100,000 Iowans have registered online and nearly 500 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are now able to register to vote without the fear of their information becoming public record. These numbers show the reforms we instituted are working well.”

Pate said Iowans also shattered records for absentee voting in a primary election. 

A total of 49,808 Iowans had cast absentee ballots for the June 5 primary by the close of business on June 4. The previous high mark was 40,718 in June 2014.

“I want to compliment Iowans for stepping up in record amounts and making their voices heard,” Pate said.

In Clayton County, nearly 1,500 people voted: 752 in the Democratic primary, 738 in the Republican primary and seven in the Libertarian primary.

The biggest local race was the Republican primary for Clayton County Supervisor. With 402 and 258 votes, respectively, Sharon Keehner and Steve Doeppke claimed the top two spots in a field of six candidates. Eldon Troester was third with 219 votes, Doug Puffett fourth at 210, Jim Smith fifth at 99 and Charles Carroll sixth at 96.

Keehner and Doeppke will now face off against Democrats Richard D. Dinan and Joleen Jansen—who automatically advanced out of their primary—in the November general election. Jansen received a total of 568 votes, while Dinan had 449.

Other county races were uncontested, with treasurer Linda Zuercher, recorder Sue Meyer and attorney Alan Heavens advancing on to the general election on the Republican side.

Another race of local interest was the Democratic primary for House District 56, which includes all of Allamakee County and most of Clayton County. Lori Egan won the contest with 744 votes, compared to 357 cast for Andy Kelleher. Egan also received the most votes in Clayton County, with 345, but the result was closer, as Kelleher picked up 202.

Egan will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the district in the general election. To date, no Republican candidate has emerged to contend for the seat, which is being vacated by Kristi Hager.

In the state races, Iowans chose Fred Hubbell as the Democrative challenger to Gov. Kim Reynolds. Clayton County voters felt much the same, casting 407 votes for Hubbell; the next closest contender was John Norris, at 122.

With just over 51 percent of the vote, Deidre DeJear was selected as the Democratic candidate for Iowa Secretary of State. Jim Mowrer earned 48.75 percent of the vote. The incumbent, Pate, was uncontested in the Republican primary. 

Mary Mosiman ran uncontested in the Republican primary for state auditor, and Rob Sand was unopposed on the Democratic side, setting up the two for a face-off in the November general election.

Incumbent state treasurer, Michael L. Fitzgerald, was unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face no Republican challenger this fall.

Like Fitzgerald, Democratic attorney general Tom Miller will face no Republican challenger.

For secretary of agriculture, Tim Gannon won the uncontested Democratic primary. He will face off against Mike Naig, the acting secretary, who beat out four other Republican contenders. Here, Clayton County voters strongly disagreed, casting 301 votes for Dan Zumbach, compared to just 175 for Naig.

In the area’s only federal race, voters selected Abby Finkenauer as the Democratic candidate to face current Republican Congressman Rod Blum. Finkenauer received 66.9 percent of the vote, followed by Thomas Heckroth at 19.18 percent. In Clayton County, voters also heavily favored Finkenauer, giving her 441 votes, while Heckroth received 201.

This year’s general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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