Voters head to the polls in Iowa’s 2024 Primary Election

Schmidt triumphs in GOP sheriff’s race; Knebel makes history in District 3

Allan Ameling, center, of Traer votes in Iowa’s 2024 Primary Election at the Traer Memorial Building Tuesday afternoon while his granddaughter, Adeline ‘Addie’ Ameling, 2, waits patiently for him to finish. Tama County’s northern precincts including Traer and Dysart saw strong turnout, much of that attributed to the three-way race for the Republican nomination for sheriff. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

TOLEDO – As the thunder cracked across the inky black sky and large raindrops fell from the dark clouds above, the team in the Tama County Auditor’s office worked with a fervor. Primary votes were being tallied, nails were being chewed, and for the first time in decades, there’s a new sheriff in town. Below are the unofficial results (including absentee) for contested primary races in Tama County.

Tama County Sheriff Republican primary

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of a new sheriff coming to town. After decades, someone new will have that special tin star pinned to his chest. And it all came down to Tuesday night.

When the primary election results started coming in, something was noticeable. This wasn’t a photo finish, rather one candidate blew the others out of the water. With 975 votes, which is 100 more votes than both of his opponents received added together, Casey Schmidt brought home the election.

With the lack of a Democratic candidate, Schmidt will run unopposed in November, which means, unofficially, Casey Schmidt is the next Tama County Sheriff.

Casey Schmidt pictured with his family including his wife Cady Schmidt. Schmidt won his race for the Republican nomination for Tama County Sheriff with 53.6% of the vote, beating out both Lucas Dvorak and Trevor J. Killian for the nomination. Much of Schmidt's success was fueled by the robust turnout in Dysart which cast 247 ballots for Schmidt, and Traer which added 175 votes. Schmidt and his family reside in Dysart. PHOTO COURTESY OF CASEY SCHMIDT/FACEBOOK

Lucas Dvorak managed to grab silver with 469 votes. Coming in third, Trevor J. Killian with 373 votes.

The precinct that had the largest impact on the election was Dysart, where people turned out in droves. With a total of 320 votes cast for sheriff in Dysart on Tuesday, the majority, 247, were for Schmidt. Schmidt hit triple digits in two other precincts as well, with 175 votes in Traer and 112 in Toledo.

Schmidt was reached for comment and had this to say, “I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. I was overwhelmed by last night’s results! I am so excited, honored and humbled to continue the journey to become the next Tama County Sheriff. I have so many people to thank. My wife, Cady, and my kids have put up with a lot, especially the past couple of months. I’m so thankful for them and the rest of my family, friends, and team who have dedicated time, supported our campaign financially, and offered words of encouragement when I needed it most.”

“This was a huge victory, but work doesn’t stop! I am thrilled to get the next part of this campaign going! To all my supporters, volunteers, and the citizens of Tama County, THANK YOU! I’m looking forward to all that lies ahead! Now let’s get to work!”

Primary voters in Tama County didn’t just speak their opinion but screamed it. And the cry heard out is for Casey Schmidt.

Allan Ameling, left, of Traer checks in to vote with Buckingham/Perry election workers (from back to front) Sue Nachazel, Laurie Schafer, and precinct chair Marguerite Hulme at the Traer Memorial Building Tuesday afternoon. Accompanying Ameling was his two-year-old granddaughter, Adeline ‘Addie’ Ameling. Even though Miss Addie was about 16 years shy of being eligible to vote in Iowa, she seemed to recognize the importance of the situation and later waited patiently for her grandpa to finish casting his ballot. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Tama County Supervisor District 3 GOP primary

Heather Knebel of rural Traer more than likely made history with her win Tuesday evening in the Republican race for Tama County Supervisor District 3. With no Democratic candidate on the primary ballot, Knebel’s win all but guarantees she will be the first woman – or one of the first if Democratic candidate Berleen Wobeter wins her District 4 race – in history on Nov. 5 to be elected to the Tama County Board of Supervisors.

Knebel, 35, garnered 64.4% of the vote on Tuesday, beating both Eli Hoskey of Toledo and Robert V. Vokoun of Gladbrook for the nomination.

In a statement provided to the newspaper, Knebel wrote, “I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart! Thank you for the support, donations, and showing up in full force to vote! I thank God for this opportunity. I’m excited to continue to listen, learn and grow. I look forward to the general election in November and hope to serve you as a Tama County Supervisor!”

Tama County Supervisor District 3 GOP primary results:

Candidate for Tama County Supervisor District 3, Heather Knebel, right, greets election workers at the Gladbrook Memorial Building just after 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday as she stopped by after work to cast her ballot in Iowa's 2024 Primary Election. Later that night, Knebel won her race with close to 65% of the vote. Without a Democratic candidate on the ballot in November's general election, Knebel will more than likely be elected as Tama County's first female supervisor. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

-Heather Knebel 322

-Robert V. Vokoun 130

-Eli Hoskey 48

Tama County Supervisor District 4 GOP primary

The results were extremely close in the Republican primary for Tama County Supervisor District 4 with Mark E. Doland of Toledo narrowly defeating incumbent William Faircloth, also of Toledo, for the nomination and the chance to face Democratic candidate Berleen Wobeter in the general election on Nov. 5. The district includes Garwin and Toledo.

Election workers in Gladbrook pause from their work for a quick photo on Tuesday afternoon including (l-r) Linda Randolph, Becky Fevold, Greg Randolph, Jeanne Paustian, and Lori Sanderson. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Doland, 48, garnered 51.5% of the vote share with 155 votes to Faircloth’s 146 votes. In addition to running for office, Doland is also chair of the Tama County Republican Central Committee.

Both candidates were contacted by the newspaper for comment Tuesday night.

“It was a very close election and I knew it would be. There were some policy differences between my opponent and I and the people who asked me to run deserved a choice,” Doland said. “My campaign volunteers, including my wife and kids, had a lot on the line and worked very hard so this victory is for them. The mantra of this campaign has come to be that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”

As part of his response, Faircloth declined to endorse Doland in the general election.

“When this race started the first thing Mark Doland said was he wanted a clean race. After the things HE put in the paper and on Facebook it looks like I am the only one who was to keep it clean. And I DID!” Faircloth wrote. “For someone that broke Iowa Code by serving as Supervisor in Mahaska County while living in the Des Moines area it says a lot about him. In the past three years I have always done what I felt was best for ALL of Tama County. … I am afraid I cannot support Mark Doland because I feel we need to be honest and forthright to hold this position.”

Several voters work to fill out their primary ballots on Tuesday, June 4, at the Gladbrook Memorial Building. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

House District 53 Democratic primary

Three candidates were hoping to secure the Democratic nomination in the House District 53 primary race including John Anderson of Tama, Tommy Hexter of Grinnell, and Jennifer Wrage of rural Gladbrook. The district covers all of Poweshiek County and most of Tama County excluding the northeast corner.

Hexter, 24, won the race with almost 59% of the vote; nearly all – 442 of his 486 total votes – came from voters in Poweshiek County.

Hexter currently works as a rural organizer for the Iowa Farmers Union while also serving as executive director of Grinnell Farm to Table. In 2020, he was elected to the Poweshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“It’s official! The primary race has been called and I am absolutely amped to be the Democratic Nominee for Iowa House District 53 in the General Election!” Hexter wrote on Facebook Tuesday evening after polls closed and results from both Tama and Poweshiek counties had been posted to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website. “I couldn’t be more grateful to all the voters and supporters who have built this movement and handed me the opportunity to represent my home and all the people here I have built my life around.”

Hexter will now face longtime incumbent Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) in the Nov. 5 General Election.

Iowa House District 53 Democratic primary results:

-Tommy Hexter 486

-Jennifer Wrage 276

-John Anderson 63

House District 54 Republican primary

Two candidates were vying Tuesday evening for the Republican nomination in House District 54 including incumbent Joshua Meggers of Grundy Center and Jody Anderson of Iowa Falls.

House District 54 covers Grundy and Hardin counties and part of Black Hawk County.

Meggers won with more than 76% of the vote. In Grundy County, Meggers had 707 votes to Anderson’s 179.

No candidate filed in the Democratic primary.

Iowa House District 54 GOP primary results:

-Joshua Meggers 1,218

-Jody Anderson 377

Tama County Supervisor District 1 GOP primary

High turnout in Tama County’s northeastern quadrant helped propel not only Casey Schmidt’s resounding win on Tuesday evening but also incumbent Curt Hilmer of Dysart who triumphed in his race for the Republican nomination for District 1 Supervisor.

Hilmer, 59, took roughly 60% of the vote beating both Randie Brodigan of Dysart and Brian L. Wrage of Lincoln for the nomination.

No candidate filed in the Democratic primary race.

If Hilmer wins in the general election on Nov. 5, he will begin a second term as county supervisor in January 2025.

“Very happy with the win,” Hilmer told the newspaper Tuesday evening. “I’m very excited to work with the new supervisors to do what is right!!”

During the 2022 primary election, Hilmer beat three other candidates for the nomination by garnering 41% of the vote.

Tama County Supervisor District 1 GOP primary results:

-Curt Hilmer 317

-Brian L. Wrage 119

-Randie Brodigan 90

Tama County Supervisor District 5 GOP primary

Three candidates were vying for the Republican nomination in the Tama County Supervisor District 5 race including Curt Kupka, Lonika Utterback, and Steve Van De Walle, all of Chelsea.

The fifth district is a large, mostly rural district covering the southern portion of the county including Meskwaki Settlement, Montour, Chelsea, Vining, and Elberon.

Kupka won the GOP nomination with just under 49% of the vote share. He will now face Democratic candidate Bruce Lenhart of Tama in the November 5 General Election.

Tama County Supervisor District 3 GOP primary results:

-Curt Kupka 116

-Lonika Utterback 33

-Steve Van De Walle 89

Heather Knebel, left, casts her ballot in the June 4, 2024, primary election at the Gladbrook Memorial Building with the help of election worker Lori Sanderson. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Republican nominee for Tama County Supervisor District 3, Heather Knebel, center, pictured alongside her parents Jean and Dennis Wilson at the Gladbrook Memorial Building Tuesday afternoon shortly after the trio cast their ballots in the 2024 Primary Election. With no Democratic candidates running in the primary for the District 3 race which includes Gladbrook and Traer, Knebel – who beat out Eli Hoskey and Robert Vokoun later that evening for her party’s nomination – will more than likely be the first woman elected to the Tama County Board of Supervisors in November. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER