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Three contested state races decided Tuesday

Two incumbents and a newcomer nab state seats

GTNS photo by David Hotle

On Tuesday, voters decided their representatives for several state and local seats during the Midterm elections.
GTNS photo by David Hotle On Tuesday, voters decided their representatives for several state and local seats during the Midterm elections.

Two incumbents kept hold of their state seats Tuesday night and will head to the Capitol next year with a soon-to-be college graduate who will take former Rep. Dave Heaton’s seat.

Incumbents Jarad Klein and Kevin Kinney will keep their seats in the State House and State Senate, respectively, as 21-year-old Joe Mitchell will represent District 84.

According to Washington County results, incumbent State Representative from District 78 Jarad Klein earned 4,934 votes, beating challenger Kimberly Davis’ 3,200 votes. On Tuesday night Klein said he was grateful to the voters for re-electing him to the seat.

“It’s an honor to continue to serve the people of Washington and Keokuk counties and I am looking forward to serving for another two years,” Klein said. Klein credits the victory to voters “doing their homework” and trusting he will continue to perform in the House as he has in the past. He said there are several issues he hopes to reach across the aisle to help solve in the coming term, including school funding and health care.

Davis declined to comment Tuesday evening, saying she would comment after the election was over. Repeated attempts to reach her Wednesday morning were unsuccessful.

While incumbent Kevin Kinney, D, defeated challenger Heather Hora, R, overall, Hora carried Washington County in the race for State Senate District 39. In the county Hora received 4,529 votes to Kinney’s 3,643.

“Is been a long summer and I’m glad it’s finally over,” Kinney said this morning. “I feel honored to have received the support of the people in the district.”

He thanked several people, including opponent Hora for also running to serve the community.

When asked about the win, Kinney believes he is able to connect with the voters in the district and show that he can work across party lines, as well as running a positive campaign. He says he plans to continue working across the aisle to find solutions to issues impacting rural Iowa.

Hora was not available for comment by press time.

While the majority of their voters were from Henry County, part of Washington County voted for their choice of a candidate to succeed David Heaton to the State Representative District 84 chair. In the end, newcomer Republican Joe Mitchell defeated Democrat Jason Moats. In Washington County Mitchell earned 626 votes while Moats got 220.

Mitchell defeated Moats 4,501 to 2,848 in Henry County. District 84 includes Henry County and rural Washington, Jefferson and Lee counties.

The 21-year-old from Wayland couldn’t describe the feeling of the win sitting in the Henry County Courthouse Tuesday night as the election results came in.

“I’m excited,” Mitchell said. “I was anxious all day, but now it’s come, and you can’t really describe the feeling.”

Mitchell said his first thing he wants to accomplish when he is sworn into the Legislature in January is making bipartisan bridges between the political parties.

“I’m going to be voting on bills that help groups and help people that aren’t necessarily going to vote for me, but it’s my job as a representative to represent every single person in the district, regardless of whether they like me or not,” Mitchell said.

The first specific piece of legislation Mitchell said he would like to tackle is extending the funding stream called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) for public schools.

Other priorities Mitchell said he has are the state budget and making sure the state is not taking out of the reserve funds and that it is filled in the event of an “economic emergency”;

small business-friendly policies that give tax breaks to small businesses; and equal funding for rural school districts.

Mitchell is graduating from Drake University in December. He has four years of experience working for Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office, the House, the Senate and the lobby. While Mitchell said he does think voters were skeptical at first of his youth, his experience speaks for itself.

“I’ve been blessed the past couple years, and I think they were very welcoming of that and they want some new blood,” Mitchell said.

Retiring Iowa House District 84 representative Dave Heaton said Mitchell is the right person to carry on the district.

“When he takes the oath, he’s going to think about the people he’s seen and talked to along the way,” Heaton said at the courthouse Tuesday night. “The political process is a realization that to be a representative is an opportunity to be an extension for the people he represents.”

While Heaton has mentored Mitchell throughout the campaign, Heaton said that it was always Mitchell’s words.

“Telling him what to say, I stayed out of that part, so Joe was his own person. Joe’s Joe,” Heaton said.