Floyd County election results didn’t always agree with statewide votes

2018 State races results in Floyd County. Press graphic by Bob Steenson
2018 state races results in Floyd County. Yellow boxes are statewide winners as well as county winners. Red boxes are state winners where Floyd County voters picked a different candidate. Press graphic by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson, bsteenson@charlescitypress.com 

Voter turnout in Floyd County Tuesday was high for a midterm election, but people looking for a bellwether to indicate state trends should maybe look elsewhere.

Floyd County voters picked Democrat J.D. Scholten as their choice for representative for U.S. House District 4, giving him 3,187 votes to the incumbent Republican Steve King’s 2,835.

Statewide, however, the nod went to the controversial King for another term.

Floyd County voters also disagreed with the state results on state auditor, with a majority of voters picking incumbent Republican Mary Mosiman over the state winner, Democrat Rob Sand.

In the other state races, however, Floyd County voters fell in line with the state results, selecting Republicans Kim Reynolds and Adam Gregg for their first elected term as governor and lieutenant governor over Democratic challengers Fred Hubbell and Charles City native Rita Hart.

Floyd County voters also agreed on Republican Paul Pate for another term as Iowa secretary of state, on longtime Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller for another term, for Democrat Michael Fitzgerald for another term as state treasurer, and Republican Mike Naig for re-election as secretary of agriculture.

Turnout was high in Floyd County Tuesday for a midterm election. There were 6,332 ballots cast, out of 10,288 registered voters, for a turnout of 61.6 percent. The turnout in 2014 was 58.2 percent and the turnout in 2010 was 53.3 percent.

That compared with turnout in presidential years of 75.6 percent in 2016 and 78.7 percent in 2012.

Gloria Carr, Floyd County auditor, said the 2010 turnout isn’t necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison with later midterm elections, however.

The number of registered voters in 2010 was 11,534, but that fell to 10,558 in 2012.

“That was around the time when a lot of cleanup was done with the registrations,” Carr said.

Periodically the auditor’s office sends out cards to registered voters to see which ones come back as undeliverable so the voter lists can be cleaned of people who have died or have moved, for example.

“There was a massive cleanup of the registration list” between the 2010 and 2012 elections, Carr said.

Whether voters in Floyd County agreed or disagreed with the state choices, they often disagreed with each other.

In the governor’s race the three Charles City precincts each went for Hubbell and Hart, while the rest of the county picked Reynolds and Gregg, as did the state.

There were similar differences in the other state races, with the three Charles City precincts voting reliably Democratic in every race except for Iowa secretary of state, where Charles City 3 voted for the challenger, Democrat Deidre DeJear, but Charles City 1 and Charles City 2 went for the incumbent, Pate.

In fact, the only race where the county precinct results weren’t split between Republican and Democratic choices was in the race for state attorney general, in which all eight precincts voted overwhelmingly for the Democrat, Miller.

That may have been because there was no Republican candidate running in that race.

The Libertarian candidate for attorney general, Marco Battaglia, received 1,347 votes to Miller’s 4,140. That was from six to 25 times as many votes as any Libertarian candidate received from Floyd County voters in any other state race.

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