Down-ballot contests in Clarke County: a rundown

There are some interesting down-ballot contests going on in Clarke County, but also some positions that lack any candidates at all.   Cruising around the county, one can see not only yard signs for Democrats and Republicans in the same yard, but even yard signs for opposing candidates for the same position standing next to each other.   And then there are the non-partisan candidates, and even a California-style ballot referendum in Osceola on how long the mayor’s term of office should be. Who’s running for what? Here’s a rundown.

Congress Second District: All of Clarke County is in District 2; there has been some confusions about this since the 2013 redistricting. It’s Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack versus Republican Chris Marks. We are not in Steve King’s district (District 4, northwest Iowa), nor David Young’s (District 3, southwest Iowa including Des Moines). Clarke and Decatur counties are the westernmost counties in the 2nd district, which includes Iowa City, Burlington, and Davenport.

State Senate District 14: Incumbent Amy Sinclair is the Republican candidate. The Democrats don’t have a candidate.   Ruth Smith is running as an independent on an anti-corporate campaign money platform.

State House District 27: Republican incumbent Joel Fry versus Democratic candidate Rich Higdon. More on this contest next week.

Clarke County Sheriff: The impending retirement of sheriff Bill Kerns has led to a 3-way race for sheriff. Rob Kovacevich, chief deputy sheriff, is the Democratic candidate.   George Williams, the Republican candidate, is a retired law enforcement officer who has worked for the U.S. Marshall’s Service in southern Iowa as well as having held other positions in Texas and in Maricopa County, Arizona.   A third candidate, Ed Stoll, formerly of the Osceola police department prior to his retirement a couple of years ago, is running as an independent.

County Auditor: Democratic candidate Janice White, who has worked in the auditor’s office for many years, was first elected auditor in 2012, defeating Republican Joyce Neal, long-term employee of Clarke Electric Cooperative. In her first run for re-election, she is opposed by Sarah Jo Farlow, who left work in the auditor’s office in 2013 and now works as a pharmacy technician at Walmart.

County Board of Supervisors District 2 (includes Northeast Precinct and Osceola Ward 2 Precinct): Incumbent Larry Keller (Republican) is opposed by independent Richard McKnight.

County Board of Supervisors District 3 (includes Osceola Ward 2 and Ward 3 Precincts): Marvin McCann is the Democratic candidate, Ray Negley is the Republican candidate, and Derek Lumsden is running as an independent.

School Board at-large position: This is a non-partisan office, and two people are running for a position that no one ran for in 2014: Barry Mateer and Brian Crawford. Mateer is a career educator who taught for most of his career in Japan, and Crawford is a general contractor who was appointed to fill the vacancy when nobody ran for the position in 2014.

 Township trustees: There is only one contested position for township trustee: Dennis Loghry vs. Mark Doty in Liberty Township in North East Precinct..

Doyle Township in Murray Precinct, Green Bay Township in Middle Precinct, and Washington Township in Middle Precinct, on the other hand, have no candidates on the ballot for trustee. These situations offer good opportunities for write-in campaigns. Anyone interested in the position could easily take the office with a handful of write-in votes, thus relieving the board of supervisors from the necessity of finding someone to appoint. Last week’s blog post at described some of the duties of township trustees.

There are no contested elections in the other township trustee positions. Listing the candidates by precinct:

Middle Precinct: Knox Township, L. Lynn George. Ward Township, Ralph Miller.

Murray Precinct: Madison Township, Raymond Johnston. Troy Township, Monty Chew.

North East Precinct: Fremont Township, Tom Carson. Osceola Township: Janene D. Nelson.

Woodburn Precinct: Franklin Township, Ellen G. Danner. Jackson Township, John Carson.

Any of the above candidates who would like to say more about their qualifications and the issues they see as pertinent, please send me some information! Though the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune is publishing answers to written interview questions from some of these candidates every week, there are many voters in Clarke County who do not read the Sentinel-Tribune, and we want to get as much information out there as possible – not just to Democrats but to all voters.

– Sandra Baringer,


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