Race for Noble’s seat set; decision on Reynolds’ seat today

State Senator Larry Noble won another four-year term in the Iowa Senate this November, then in December Governor-elect Terry Branstad asked Noble to serve as his public safety commissioner.  Noble accepted the invitation, and resigned from the state senate, which represents the Ankeny area.  A special election will be held January 18, 2011 in the district. 

The two major political parties held conventions to choose nominees. Republicans held theirs last week; Democrats held theirs last night. 

Jack Whitver Wins Republican Nomination for Senate District 35

DES MOINES – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn announced that Jack Whitver, Ankeny, won the GOP nomination tonight for the special election in Senate District 35. The seat, covering northern Polk County, was vacated by Larry Noble (R-Ankeny), who resigned to become Iowa’s Public Safety commissioner.
Whitver will face the Democratic nominee, to be chosen next week, in a special election on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.
Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said, “Iowa Republicans intend to hold this seat, and as a resident of Senate District 35, I enthusiastically look forward to casting my vote for Jack. I’m confident Iowans will elect Jack Whitver to be a conservative voice in the Iowa Senate.”
Whitver said, “I’m honored to be the Party’s nominee and I intend to keep the seat in the Republican column. I promise to keep promoting conservative values in the state of Iowa.”
Whitver is the owner of three local fitness facilities and is attending law school at Drake University. Jack and his wife, Rachel, live in Ankeny with their newborn daughter.  

John Calhoun Wins Democratic Nomination in Senate District 35

ANKENY – Meeting tonight in Ankeny, delegates in Senate District 35 chose John Calhoun as their nominee to run for the Iowa Senate seat vacated by Sen. Larry Noble.

“John Calhoun’s experience of working with business and government to bring good-paying jobs to the area is exactly what voters across the state want in Des Moines,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky. “John has been an integral part of his community and has already shown a commitment to public service and moving this state forward, we look forward to him working with our Democratic majority in the Iowa Senate to keep this state on the right path.”

Calhoun currently serves as director of the Polk City Community Foundation and Polk City Development Corporation where he works with elected officials and businesses to attract jobs and grow the local economy. He lives in Polk City with his wife Elizabeth, the couple has two children.

Today — January 4, 2011 — is the date of the special election in southwest Iowa to fill former State Senator Kim Reynolds’ senate senate seat.  Reynolds resigned on November 12, after being elected as Iowa’s next lieutenant governor.  Joni Ernst and Ruth Smith are competing for the seat.  Smith, the Democrat, lost to Reynolds in the district in 2008.  More details on the two candidates are below, from news releases issued by their respective parties.

11.12.10: Special Election to fill vacancy Lieutenant Governor-elect Kim Reynolds Senate Seat

RED OAK, IA- Joni Ernst has announced her bid for the Iowa Senate in District 48. Earlier today State Senator Kim Reynolds resigned her seat as she is the Lieutenant Governor-elect. The district covers all of Montgomery, Adams, Taylor, Union, Ringgold, Clarke, and Decatur Counties in southern Iowa. Governor Culver has five days to set the date of the Special Election, according to Iowa State Law, and the election will be set within the next forty days.

Joni Ernst said today, “I look forward to serving the people of Senate District 48 and making sure government is once again accountable to the people. We need to reduce the size of government and get it back to serving the people. We, the people, also know how to spend, save, and invest our paychecks better than government.”

Lieutenant Governor-elect Kim Reynolds and State Representative Cecil Dolecheck have endorsed Joni Ernst for the Iowa State Senate.

Joni Ernst has a lifetime of service to Southern Iowa, born and raised in Montgomery County and is serving her sixth year as Montgomery County Auditor. She has served 18 years in the US Army Reserves and the Iowa Army National Guard; currently serving at the rank of Major in the Iowa Army National Guard and is assigned as Operations Branch Chief, Logistics, with Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnston, Iowa. In this time Ernst spent 14 months mobilized and overseas in Kuwait in 2003-2004, at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ernst has a Bachelors of Science degree from Iowa State University, and Masters of Public Administration from Columbus College. Joni, and husband Gail, have been married for 18 years and share three daughters. They are members of Mamrelund Lutheran Church of Stanton where they teach Sunday school.

Ernst continued, “I have a career of service and dedication to the people of Iowa. I want to continue service in the Iowa Senate, and look forward to representing the voters.”

11.18.10: Ruth Smith pursues senate vacancy

Ruth Smith, of Lamoni, announces her plan to pursue the upcoming senate vacancy in Iowa District 48. As Senator Reynolds resigns from her senate seat, Senate District 48 will hold a special legislative election to fill this vacancy. Smith understands that the election date is undetermined at this time but plans to move forward with her campaign. Smith was the 2008 Democratic Candidate for the Iowa Senate and continues with her desire to serve the people of the 48th District.

A 45-year-old native of Decatur County, Smith remains committed to the growth and prosperity of rural Iowa. Smith’s professional work as a physical therapist and coach takes her throughout much of the senate district which includes Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Montgomery, Ringgold, Taylor, and Union counties. Smith believes in the small-town lifestyle of rural Iowa and recognizes its potential to attract business and industry.

“I am committed to fighting in the Capitol for good-paying jobs and economic recovery for Southern Iowans.” Smith states. “Too many Southern Iowans are still out of work. We must do more to ensure that working families can get on their feet again.”

Grassroots legislation and healthy community-building are highlighted in Smith’s campaign message. She plans to draw from her experience in healthcare, education, small business, and community service to promote practical and effective policy-making in the Iowa Senate. Much of Smith’s motivation to serve as a legislator stems from her perception that state government is disconnected from rural Iowa.

Smith will soon reveal her plan to strengthen the relationship between the legislative branch and the constituents of Senate District 48. “I believe that legislators should clearly understand how Iowa law and regulation affect the work and family lives of Iowans,” emphasizes Smith. She states that this goal can only be accomplished through personal and frequent interaction with people of the district. Smith continues, “In my opinion, legislators should seek out ways to gather information and perspectives from their constituents. I can promise a genuine effort to represent the needs and concerns of the district.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.