Republican Joni Ernst wins Senate district 48 special election

Montgomery County will need to find a new auditor, because Joni Ernst won today's special election in Iowa Senate district 48. With all seven counties reporting, Ernst led Democrat Ruth Smith by 4,978 votes to 2,400 (67 percent to 33 percent), according to unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State's website.

Kim Reynolds was elected to this seat in 2008 but resigned from the Senate after being elected lieutenant governor. The district comprises the south and southwest Iowa counties of Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Taylor, Ringgold, and Decatur.

Ernst's victory gives the Republicans 23 seats in the upper chamber of the Iowa legislature. Democrats hold a slim majority with 26 seats. Senate district 35 will be filled in a January 18 special election between Republican Jack Whitver and Democrat John Calhoun.

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