Primaries offered few surprises, but had record turnout statewide

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Clayton County had only one in-person voting site for the June 2 primary, at Central Community School. It had just a slow trickle of voters, though, as many opted to mail in absentee ballots. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

Iowa voters broke a record set back in 1994 for voter turnout in a June primary with over 500,000 ballots cast statewide, and they did so amid a lingering pandemic and the backdrop of renewed calls for social justice. 

It was a demonstration of voter resilience, acknowledged by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who thanked the voters, poll workers and national and state agencies that provided the necessary safety items that even allowed such a day of voting to occur. 

At the federal level, incumbent Republican Sen. Joni Ernst will face off against Democrat Theresa Greenfield, who defeated four other rivals to gain the party’s nomination. 

In the race for United States Representative, Ashley Hinson was the Republican winner for District 1, and will face Democratic incumbent Abby Finkenauer in November. 

At the local level, Senate District 28 will have a new state senator with the retirement of Michael Breitbach. Republican Mike Klimesh will face Democrat Matt Tapscott this fall. 

For state representative, Republican incumbent Michael Bergan will take on Democratic challenger Kayla Koether in District 55. In District 56, Democrat Angela Reed will challenge incumbent Anne Osmundson, a Republican. 

June 2 was a day of uncontested races for county offices as Republican Ray Peterson (county supervisor), Democrat Jennifer Garms (county auditor), Republican Michael Tschirgi (county sheriff) and Republican Zach Herrmann (county attorney) all won with relative ease. They will have no challengers to face this fall. 

While it is true that poll workers braved the pandemic and voters turned up in numbers greater than expected, polling places were not exactly filled with people. 

Instead, lines of people were replaced by a slow trickle of voters, and voting booths replaced by mail-in ballots. 

In Iowa, there are 2,166,330 registered voters, and 524,675 of them voted in the primary. That’s a turnout of 24.22 percent.

In Clayton County, 2,354 people voted—1,258 cast ballots for the Democratic Party and 1,096 for the Republican Party.

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