GOP holds onto Reynolds seat

Former State Senator Kim Reynolds, a Republican, resigned in mid-November after being elected Iowa’s next lieutenant governor.  (Reynolds and her running mate, Governor-elect Terry Branstad, will be sworn in January 14.)  The special election to fill Reynolds’ vacant senate seat was held yesterday.  Republican Joni Ernst won.  If you take a look at the returns, you’ll see Ernst won overwhelmingly in Montgomery County — her home is there, while Democrat Ruth Smith won her home county of Decatur, but not overwhelmingly.  Ernst won the other counties in the sprawling district which stretches across seven counties in southwest Iowa.  Nearly 7400 votes were cast.  Read more about the candidates’ backgrounds here.

Later this month, on January 18, a special election will be held in northern Polk County (the Ankeny area) to fill another vacancy in the state senate. Senator Larry Noble resigned to accept Governor-elect Branstad’s invitation to serve as state Public Safety Commissioner.  As such he’ll oversee the Iowa Department of Public Safety, including the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa State Highway Patrol.  Noble is a retired patrolman.

The Iowa GOP’s chairman issued a statement after last night’s victory in southwest Iowa.  Read it below.

Iowa GOP Chairman Strawn Congratulates Joni Ernst
Republican wins special election in Senate District 48
DES MOINES – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn tonight congratulated Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) on her election to the Iowa Senate. Ernst won today’s special election in Senate District 48, the seat formerly held by Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Reynolds.
“Joni will deliver on the promise to return smaller, limited government to Iowa, focusing on ways to incentivize private sector economic growth in our state,” Strawn said. “Her victory places even more pressure on Senate Democrats to work with Republican leaders on reducing spending and increasing efficiency with the taxpayers’ dollars.” 
Ernst said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the people in Senate District 48 and appreciate the support of the voters.”
Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) said, “Joni was a great candidate who worked hard and I know she will do a tremendous job advocating for the interests of southwest Iowans in the Senate.”
Joni and Gail Ernst reside in Red Oak and share three daughters.  She has served as the Auditor of Montgomery County since January 1, 2005. Joni has 18 years of service in the US Army Reserves and Iowa Army National Guard and she served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2004.
Senate District 48 covers seven counties in Southern Iowa including Montgomery, Adams, Taylor, Union, Ringgold, Clarke and Decatur. 

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About O.Kay Henderson

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