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Johnson County Dem Primary

by: corncam

Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 14:14:32 PM CDT

(This will be one of the most closely-watched primary elections at the county level next Tuesday. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The most exciting race in Johnson county isn't the 2nd Congressional District, or even State House District 73 - its the race for county auditor.  

corncam :: Johnson County Dem Primary


The incumbent is Tom Slockett, first elected in 1977.  When I first moved to the county I was a huge fan of Slockett.  He has always made voting easily accessible, and he was among the very first county officials anywhere to establish a web site.  His innovations continue today, with a QR code to help voters locate their polling places.  


However, Slockett has been through a series of troubling incidents in recent years.  He was arrested twice for OWI, and he has alienated both elected officials and his own employees.  There are multiple reports of him yelling at his staff, and key employees have quit the office.  Just yesterday, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board reprimanded him for circulating a nominating petition among his office staff.  


As a result, there has been growing dissatisfaction with Slockett among Democratic party activists.  There were quiet efforts to recruit a primary challenger four years ago, which came to nothing.  (In fact, I was approached about this job myself.)  This year a group of elected officials have publically endorsed Travis Weipert to run against Tom Slockett.


Weipert is an Iowa native, and 2004 graduate of Mount Mercy University.  He is an accountant for Aegon insurance, and a member of the Tiffin city council.   He has been endorsed by State Sen. Bob Dvorsky, and State Reps Mary Mascher and Vicki Lensing.  Weipert has also been endorsed by County Supervisors Rod Sullivan and Janelle Rettif, as well as County Treasurer Tom Kriz and Recorder Kim Painter.  Lots of prominent local activists are also supporting him.


As you might expect after 35 years in office, Tom Slockett has many supporters, including former legislators like Dick Myers, Jean Lloyd-Jones, and David Osterberg, but I couldn't find any current, partisan elected officials on his list.


Both candidates have a fair number of yard signs out.   And they have both mailed flyers, but I don't have any feel for how this will play out.   

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My personal encounters with Tom have always been positive (0.00 / 0)
My personal encounters with Tom have always been positive, so it has been sad to watch the bad news pile up.  He has served the county well for many years.

Final result: Weipert 62 - Slockett 38 (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
I can attest to this ... (0.00 / 0)
I was a huge fan of Slockett.  He has always made voting easily accessible, and he was among the very first county officials anywhere to establish a web site.  His innovations continue today, with a QR code to help voters locate their polling places.  

as a data-driven out-of-stater, I could actually review Iowa county auditor sites ;-) JC is high on the list, top 3. Also up there is Linn County, where the auditor (Joel Miller -- I'm a fan) is also experiencing some trouble. The Johnson County site is showing its age a bit -- design-wise it's 1996, but that's OK. I always find everything I need.

the reprimand (0.00 / 0)
was actually related to a different ethics charge, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

Using his work phone to talk with campaign supporters. Slockett acknowledged using his cell phone from his office to work on his campaign and said it's possible some people may have returned calls to his work phone, according to the written order. Slockett said was relying on the advise of the current and a former Johnson County attorney, and those attorneys said during the investigation that they had advised county employees that it is OK to use government resources for political purposes as long as there was no additional cost to the county. The ethics board said state law prohibits that use regardless of whether there is an additional cost. Because Slockett relied on the advice of counsel, the board said it would issue a reprimand, which is the least severe civil sanction.

Circulating your nominating petitions in a government office is ok "as long as other candidates are given the same opportunity. The board found that other candidates were not given the opportunity and referred the matter to Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness, who has jurisdiction."

The ethics board dismissed all three complaints against Linn County Auditor Joel Miller.

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