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The Conservative Reader:

After 5 ballots, Jack Whitver tonight won the Republican Nomination for the special election in Senate District 35 at a nominating convention held at the Kirkendall Public Library in Ankeny.

“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,” said the local business owner and law student.  Jack, his wife Rachel and their newborn daughter live in Ankeny.

Whitver will face a candidate to be selected by Democrats on Tuesday January 18th. Democrats will select a candidate on Monday of next week (January 3rd) to oppose Whitver.

Highlights from tonight’s convention in Senate District 35.

Meeting opened with full room… standing room only. Jim Kirkenbach convened as was immediately elected as the convention chair. Gopal Krishna was elected secretary.

The rules were presented.  A motion to modify the rules to allow discussion amongst the body after speeches and before voting failed. The rules were then approved as written.

The following people were nominated:

  • Matthew DeVries
  • Larry Voorhees
  • Carol Miller
  • Jim Gocke
  • Kevin Koester
  • Jack Whitver

A delegate asked the candidates to “…not surprise us with something from your past … tell us what you need to tonight.”

Matt DeVries gave a good speech. He covered a number of the expected conservative topics… including the comment that “abortion is an act of violence”.

Jim Gocke talked a lot about his background growing up and how it affected his mindset. Different events “sharpened my pencil”.  No clear message on positions, although he did handout information as well.  Jim is pretty well known in the community through his law practice.

Kevin Koester shared some family background. He said that his positions are well documented… jokingly shared about some family nefariousness.  He made a strong case for using his experience in the House to shepard key legislation through the Senate.  Kevin was reelected in November as the representative for Iowa House District 70, which makes up half of Iowa Senate District 35.

Carol Miller is a farm wife… agriculture is a large part of this district (District 35 is largely rural). She has a history of various roles representing the interest of agriculture and general public policy, including travelling to DC to address policy issues.

Larry Voorhees said he “doesn’t like liberalism and doesn’t like empty ballots”. In 2008 he ran for Iowa House in District 68 against Democrat Rick Olson even though the odds were against him. He “won’t roll over and play dead”. He explained his position on abortion as unwavering with no exceptions.

Jack Whitver gave a very solid speech, covering several key conservative topics, as Matt did, at one point stating that it was “wrong to mislead Iowans by telling them we have a blanced budget”.   Jack wants term-limits.  He said that “voters now see the weakness of big government” and are expecting substantive change.  Below is a video of Jack’s speech, courtesy of The Iowa Republican (Craig Robinson).


Any of these candidates seemed very likely to serve Republicans well.

Ballots were immediately provided.

First ballot:

  • Devries 21.3
  • Gocke 34.1
  • Koester 12.7
  • Miller .7
  • Voorhees 0
  • Whitver 28.7

Larry Voorhees withdrew.

Second bellot:

  • Devries 20.5
  • Gocke 36.2
  • Koester 6.6
  • Miller 0
  • Whitver 36.7

Carol Miller is then dropped since the rules stipulate that after the second ballot, the person with the least votes in each round is dropped.

Third ballot:

  • Devries 20.8
  • Gocke 39.4
  • Koester 3.3
  • Whitver 36.4

Koester drops by rules

Fourth ballot:

  • Devries 16.9
  • Gocke 39.4
  • Whitver 45

DeVries drops by rules

Fifth and final ballot:

  • Gocke 36.4
  • Whitver 63.6

Jim Gocke gave a short speech followed by an equally short acceptance speech from Jack.

Kudos to those running the meeting… very efficient.  And the crowd was very engaged but polite.  A very pleasant experience.

Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican has a great write-up of the event as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I sat through the convention in the back with Craig Robinson, who runs The Iowa Republican web site.  Craig is fun to work with, and he never has his own access to the internet at events like this.  I had my recently acquired cellular hotspot with me and I was happy to share it with Craig, but it would not work properly (still not sure why… I will have to work on it tomorrow).  The wireless at the library was not strong enough to work for us, so we did all of our tweeting from our phones.

Anyhow, Craig predicted that IF the voting went to five ballots, Jack Whitver would be the winner.  Craig Robinson was Nostradamus.

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