Tama County voters headed to the polls last week, helping shape the race to come this November with their choices in primary elections on both the Democratic and Republican sides.
One of the most closely watched races, and one with national importance, was the Republican contest between Ben Lange, an attorney from Independence, and Rod Blum, a businessman from Dubuque, for the United States House of Representatives 1st District. The district, which was recently expanded to include all of Tama County, along with larger cities like Cedar Rapids, was heavily contested, but ended up going to Lange, who also served as the party's nominee in 2010. Lange finished with 56% of the countywide vote, versus 43% for Blum, according to the unofficial results released by the Iowa Secretary of State office. The margin was closer for Lange in the district-wide race, where he finished with 52% of the vote to Blum's 48%.
Lange will now face incumbent Bruce Braley (D), who he lost to by less than two percentage points in the 2010 election.
In more locally-focused races, the Democratic race for the party's District 72 seat was also hotly contested, with Nathan Wrage, of Gladbrook, beating out Christina Blackcloud-Garcia. It was a close race, but Wrage finished with more than 53% of the vote breaking his way. He accumulated 416 total votes to Blackcloud-Garcia's 358. He will now move on to face Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) in the general election in the fall for the chance to represent the 72nd District.
The only other local race that featured a contested outcome was the Republican nomination for the 36th District, which went to Jane Jech, of Marshalltown, over Larry McKibben, also of Marshalltown. McKibben was an established Republican who served in the Iowa Senate from 1997-2003, and despite raising nearly twice the funds of Jech, according to publicized campaign financial records, he ended up losing handily. Jech finished with almost 59% of the vote to McKibben's 41%. Her margin in Tama County specifically was even wider, at 66% to 33%. She will face incumbent Democrat Steve Sodders in the fall.
The Dysart Reporter will have further looks at area candidates over the course of the summer and early fall, highlighting their ideas to bring prosperity and maintain a high quality of life for residents in Dysart and beyond. The Reporter also hopes to have one-on-one interviews with all candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, over the next few months.