Back to 1934 – Tama Co. voters say ‘yes’ to five supervisors

Republicans win county supervisor, treasurer, all three statehouse seats

Every voting booth/seat was taken at one point Tuesday evening at Traer Memorial Building where voters in Buckingham and Perry townships turned out to vote in the 2022 midterm election. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Tama County voters overwhelmingly passed a public measure during Tuesday night’s midterm election to return the county to a form of government not experienced since 1934 – five county supervisors.

Public Measure TX – “The number of Tama County Supervisors shall be increased from three members to five members.” – was approved by a majority with 3,868 votes cast in support of the measure and 2,285 votes cast against the measure.

Back in July, members of the local coalition Tama County Against Turbines began a petition drive to place the measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, eventually collecting 1,154 signatures which exceeded the required 908 signatures.

Tama County made the initial switch from five to three supervisors following a ballot proposition presented to voters exactly 90 years ago Tuesday – on Tuesday, November 8, 1932.

The move from five to three supervisors took place during the next general election held on November 6, 1934. The five supervisors’ terms ended and three supervisors at-large were elected in their place to serve a two, three, and four-year term, respectively.

Poll worker Linda Dvorak (left) assists rural Clutier voter Irene Podhajsky with her ballot just before noon on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at the Clutier Fire Station. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Back to the future –the next General Election in Iowa is set to take place on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. Prior to that election, the three current county supervisor districts will need to be redrawn into five.

The terms of the sitting supervisors – including District 2 Supervisor Bill Faircloth, District 3 Supervisor Dan Anderson, and District 1 Supervisor-elect Curt Hilmer who was elected Tuesday evening to replace retiring Supervisor Larry Vest – will end and five supervisors will be elected in their place to serve staggered terms beginning in January 2025.

Tama County Board of Supervisors District 1

As noted above, Republican Curt Hilmer of Dysart – who currently works for the county’s secondary roads department – won his bid for the open Tama County Supervisor District 1 seat.

Hilmer, 57, garnered roughly 70% of the vote – 1,789 votes – according to unofficial results. Democratic candidate Randie Brodigan, also of Dysart, earned just shy of 30% of the vote with 765 votes.

Buckingham/Perry precinct chairman Marguerite Hulme (right) assists voters turning out for the midterm election on Tuesday, November 8 in Traer Memorial Building. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

District 1 includes most of the eastern half of the county – a broad rural swath – including the towns of Chelsea, Vining, Elberon, Clutier, Dysart, and Traer but excluding Otter Creek Township entirely and part of Richland Township.

In a statement to the Telegraph, Hilmer expressed joy over his win and also a readiness to get to work particularly as it relates to the county’s Wind Energy Conversion System Ordinance.

“[I’m] very excited to win and eager to start mending the relationship between the Supervisors and the wind turbine group!” Hilmer wrote. “This deal needs to be resolved!”

In response to a question regarding the outcome of Public Measure TX, Hilmer responded, “Not really in support of that decision, I’m sure we are going to have problems coming up with the wages. But that’s something we will have to work out. Just feeling very blessed right now!!!”

Tama County Treasurer

In what had become a hotly contested election – at least on the opinion pages of all three Tama County-affiliated newspapers – current County Treasurer Amanda Kriegel, a Republican from Tama, won her bid for a full, four-year term with 61% of the vote (3,942 votes), according to unofficial results. Kriegel’s challenger, independent candidate Kathy Holtz of Toledo earned just under 39% of the vote total (2,490 votes).

Kriegel, 39, was seeking election to the office for her first full term after being appointed to fill a vacancy left by former county treasurer Michelle Yuska who resigned effective April 8 of this year to take another job.

Kriegel, originally from Chelsea, was appointed to the office by the board of supervisors during a special meeting held on April 12.

In a statement to the Telegraph following her win, Kriegel expressed appreciation for the Tama County electorate, writing, “To the residents of Tama County, thank you for your votes and the opportunity to serve our county. This has by far been one of the most humbling experiences in my life. I chose to spend my [election] night surrounded by friends and family. As the results started coming in, I was hit with a wave of emotions. I am beyond grateful. Thank you so much for your support. I look forward to the next four years and promise to always do what is best for the residents of this county.”

State Representative District 76

Republican Derek Wulf, a 41-year-old farmer/rancher from rural Hudson, won his bid for the new Iowa House District 76 with just over 60% of the vote (8,225 votes), according to unofficial results. Democratic candidate Kate Wyatt of Hudson earned roughly 39% of the vote (5,320 votes).

Following redistricting, House District 76 includes Clark, Perry, Geneseo, and Buckingham townships in northeast Tama County, three rural townships in northwest Benton County, and the Black Hawk County areas surrounding and including Hudson, La Porte City, Gilbertville, Evansdale, and Elk Run Heights, as well as much of Cedar Falls proper.

Wulf’s win is considered a pick-up for Iowa Republicans as the seat was previously held by Democrat Dave Williams of Cedar Falls who elected not to run following redistricting.

In a statement to the Telegraph, Wulf expressed an appreciation for the trust voters placed in his campaign as well as a desire to return common sense to Des Moines.

“Today, the hard working, deep rooted, common sense minded folks of District 76 stood loud and clear to say enough is enough in our rural district,” Wulf said. “They exclaimed that no longer would politicians tell them what their priorities should be. Instead, they stood alongside each other to say we are tired of our businesses being strained by the heavy weight of the government. We are tired of policies that put the burden on our families, and we are tired of more government interaction in our businesses and our farms.”

“This is the message we have stood by in our campaign since the beginning, and you can guarantee, that is the message I will be taking to Des Moines. I am beyond grateful and humbly honored to be overwhelmingly trusted by the people of District 76 to represent them at the capitol of the great state of Iowa next year.”

State Representative District 53

Incumbent Republican Dean Fisher of rural Montour – running in a new district following redistricting – defeated Democrat Sarah Smith of Grinnell in her second bid for the Iowa legislature.

Fisher, 66, garnered just under 57% of the vote total (6,933 votes), according to unofficial results. Smith earned just over 43% (5,303 votes).

Iowa House District 53 includes all of Poweshiek County and most of Tama County including Clutier but excluding Traer, Dysart, and Buckingham.

State Senate District 27

Incumbent Republican Annette Sweeney of rural Buckeye – also running in a remade district following redistricting – defeated Democrat Sam Cox of Grinnell.

Sweeney, 64, earned just under 67% of the vote total with 16,889 votes, according to unofficial results. Cox received just over 33% of the vote with 8,408 votes.

Iowa Senate District 27 covers an expansive five-county area that includes all of Grundy, Hardin, and Poweshiek counties, part of Black Hawk County, and most of Tama County excluding Buckingham, Dysart, and Traer.

Uncontested Tama County offices

Incumbent Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren (R) – facing no opposition – won his reelection bid with 4,863 votes. Tama County Recorder Amelia Kemper (R) – running unopposed for her first full term – also won her race with 5,499 votes.

Smooth election

According to Tama County Election Administrator Karen Rohrs, turnout for the 2022 midterm election was 57 percent with roughly 6,610 ballots cast.

The election process on Nov. 8 – which saw poll workers arrive at their assigned precincts at 6 a.m. and remain through the close of polls at 8 p.m. – went “smooth,” Rohrs said.

“I think it went amazing. We had no hiccups. It was a very busy election but it ran smoothly thanks to our election workers.”