BIG GROVE— Early voting for the Nov. 4 general election begins on Sept. 25, and I’m in no hurry. I’m also willing to bet that I’ve given more thought to the entire ballot than most voters in the precinct.
The top of the ticket is easy, with votes for Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack almost foreordained. Given the views of their competition, there is no contest.
We were sick of Terry Branstad the last time he gave up the governorship. He has done nothing to endear us enough to vote to retain him in office. There are four other gubernatorial candidates, and the only reasonable alternative is a vote for Jack Hatch and Monica Vernon, the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.
Tom Miller for attorney general and Mike Fitzgerald for state treasurer are solid and expected to win. Based on everything they do for the state, they merit our vote. I particularly appreciate Miller’s help during the 2012 campaign I managed, and Fitzgerald’s College Savings Iowa, which made a significant contribution to college affordability in our household.
Brad Anderson will get my vote for secretary of state. I met him, I like him, and going backward to Paul Pate or the minor party candidates would be the wrong direction. Secretary of state is an important job, and making life easier for small businesses and including as many voters as possible in elections represents what should be the foundation of our society. It hasn’t been that way under the current Republican’s tenure.
The other statewide races need study. I’m not sure what qualities to seek in a state auditor, and while I lean toward Democrat Jonathan Niederbach, and will likely vote for him, I’m not quite ready to say yes.
Secretary of Agriculture is a key race in our household, and the Democrats fielded a candidate with weak credentials in Sherrie Taha. I met Bill Northey and have heard him speak several times. I don’t feel a need to vote the strait ticket, and this is a race where I might vote for the Republican. Jury is still out on that.
State Senator Bob Dvorsky is running unopposed, and I have been communicating with him about the needs of our precinct, especially with regard to Lake Macbride, since we moved to Big Grove two decades ago. Another easy vote, even if there were a challenger. The same holds true for the court house races: Tom Kriz for treasurer, Janet Lyness for county attorney, and Kim Painter for recorder are all running unopposed, and I know and support them.
For state representative in House District 73, there are two candidates, Democrat David Johnson and Republican incumbent Bobby Kaufmann. Since I waged a campaign to defeat each of them in 2012, neither represents my best option. How I decide to vote won’t be discussed here or anywhere else in public.
There is a three-way race for two seats on the county board of supervisors, with incumbent Janelle Rettig, Mike Carberry and John Etheredge on the ballot. My votes will go to Rettig and Carberry. Although I’ve gotten to know Republican Etheredge better during his term, he is likely to be the burr that gets sanded off in the wood shop that is this heavily Democratic county.
I am one of three township trustees and one position is on the ballot after the resignation of long-time trustee Elmer Vanourney, and subsequent appointment of Dewayne Klouda to replace him. Klouda will get my write-in vote since he failed to file in time. Ryan Hajek is on the ballot for clerk, and was appointed when Klouda moved to trustee. He is interested in the work of the trustees, and will get my vote.
Figuring out the rest of the ballot is more difficult.
The other non-partisan offices? Who knows? There are five candidates for five positions on the ag extension council, and one supposes that if they are interested enough to get on the ballot, why stop them? Same with the single candidate to fill a two-year term. Soil and water commission has two candidates for two positions. Judicial retention in the court of appeals, District 6 District Court and District 6 District Associate? Again, who knows? They had to file for retention, so at least we know they want it that much. This is always a puzzler unless there is some controversy.
There are two ballot issues, the Local Option Sales Tax, and the county court house bond issue. I don’t support increasing sales tax, and once the ballot is printed, I’ll see what my choices are. I will vote for the court house bonding, and there is almost no public opposition to moving forward with it, so hopefully it gains the 60 percent required.
What I’m saying here is that voting early is good for the top of the ticket, but can be bad for down-ticket candidates and issues. Understanding as much as possible before we vote is important. If that means waiting until election day, then so be it.