Voters in Clive, Windsor Heights, Waukee, and about half of West Des Moines will elect a successor to State Senator Pat Ward today in Iowa Senate district 22. Ward's untimely death in October forced this special election between Republican Charles Schneider and Democrat Desmund Adams. Follow me after the jump for early vote numbers and news from the campaign trail.
UPDATE: Unofficial results from Polk County show Schneider won 2865 votes and Adams 2712 votes. The Dallas County precincts have not reported yet, but they are more Republican-leaning, so it's safe to say Schneider won this special election.
SECOND UPDATE: Schneider won by 5,371 votes to 4,117 (56.56 percent to 43.36 percent). Huge opportunity for Iowa Democrats lost here.
Polls opened at 7 am today and will close at 9 pm. Scroll to the end of this post for Polk County and Dallas County voting locations, candidate biographies, and a district map.
Charles Schneider, who defeated several Republicans vying for the nomination here, takes every advantage into election day. As of December 2012 (pdf), Senate district 22 contained 12,926 registered Democrats, 17,392 Republicans, and 15,996 no-party voters.
Republicans also banked more early votes for the special election. As of today, Democrats in Senate district 22 had requested 2,151 ballots, Republicans had requested 2,736 ballots, and no-party voters had requested 647 ballots.
More important, the GOP leads in ballots returned, which includes mailed ballots and in-person early voting. As of December 11, 1,723 Democrats in Senate district 22 had returned ballots, compared to 2,236 Republicans, 455 no-party voters, and one voter with another party registration.
Both campaigns did district-wide direct mail and had canvassers knocking on doors these past few weeks. Democrats crushed the early GOTV during last year's Iowa Senate district 18 special election and during this year's general election campaign. For whatever reason, they were not able to convey the importance of this election to Democrats in the Des Moines suburbs.
Republicans put more money behind Schneider's campaign than Democrats invested in Adams during the past month. The latest campaign finance disclosure forms show Adams raised $22,860.00 in cash donations since the beginning of November and received $29,128.05 in in-kind donations, mostly supporting printing, postage and phone banking.
Since winning the Republican nomination on November 8, Schneider has raised $62,545.35 in campaign contributions along with $68,808.71 in in-kind donations from the Republican Party of Iowa. A lot of that money went toward producing this television commercial, which has been up on broadcast and cable channels in the Des Moines market for about a week:
Charles Schneider: Pat Ward was a respected state senator. Her passing is a real loss for our community. We're having a special election on December 11. I'm asking for your vote to fight for a pro-jobs, limited-government agenda. [Schneider stands in a kitchen, speaks directly to the camera. words on screen: December 11th Special Election, Charles SCHNEIDER State Senate]
I'm Charles Schneider. On the West Des Moines City Council, I helped balance the budget without raising property tax rates. [footage of him walking with wife, talking with different people, pushing small child on swingset]
In addition, I'll support job creation in Iowa by working for the governor's property tax relief plan. [Schneider speaks to different people in a workplace; words on screen Job Creation and Property Tax Relief Charles SCHNEIDER State Senate]
I'm Charles Schneider. Send me to the state Senate and we'll work together for Iowa. [Schneider speaks to camera again, words on screen VOTE DECEMBER 11TH CHARLES SCHNEIDER STATE SENATE]
Adams has not run any television or radio commercials supporting his campaign. These last few days, he has talked about how long and hard he has worked at this campaign, knocking on nearly 8,000 doors over 20 months. It would take a monumental turnout drive by Democrats to overcome Schneider today.
Adams and Schneider appeared at a joint forum in Waukee on December 1 and on WHO-TV's program "The Insiders" on December 9. There were no fireworks on either occasion. Beth Dalbey liveblogged the Waukee forum, which Jeff Patch covered at The Iowa Republican blog. You can watch the WHO-TV program here.
As he has done throughout his campaign, Adams stressed his moderation and his support for a better small business climate. He also supports reducing corporate income taxes and closing loopholes in order to "level the playing field."
Schneider has tried to keep the focus on economic issues. He toes the conservative line on social issues, but in a hand-wringing way that attempts to project, "I'm not a bigot." When WHO-TV's Dave Price asked about a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, Adams gave a straightforward answer about how there are no degrees of equality. Schneider talked about his personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, then said he understood how "difficult" the issue is for his gay friends and co-workers, and emphasized that he he doesn't look down on them "as people."
Is it just me, or is this kind of Republican even more annoying than the Bob Vander Plaats types who rage against the homosexual agenda? If you don't think Iowans in same-sex relationships should have equal rights, just say so. Don't hide behind fake empathy for how "difficult" the issue is for your gay friends and co-workers. You either are willing to stand up for your friends' civil rights, or you're willing to put your friends' rights up to a popular vote.
Speaking of trying to look respectable while other people do the dirty work, Schneider disavowed any connection to a story on The Iowa Republican blog last week. Republican blogger Jeff Patch focused on a five-year-old child abuse allegation that stemmed from a custody battle between Adams and the mother of his older son. The Dallas County attorney prosecuted Adams for felony child endangerment, even though the DHS worker who investigated the incident recommended no criminal charges. A jury acquitted Adams. I don't support spanking or hitting a child of any age for any reason with any object. But regardless of my views on corporal punishment, Iowa county attorneys typically do not not prosecute parents on this kind of charge. To my knowledge, The Iowa Republican has never suggested before that parents who use physical discipline on their children are unfit to serve in the Iowa legislature.
Neither the Des Moines Register nor any local television newscast picked up Patch's story, which Adams' communications director described as "gutter politics."
Any comments about the Senate district 22 race are welcome in this thread.
Polk County polling places
Clive 1: Dymond Public Safety Center, 8505 Harbach
Clive 2: Indian Hills Junior High School, 9401 Indian Hills Dr
Clive 3: Faith Lutheran Church, 10395 University
Clive 4: Clive City Hall, 1900 NW 114th St.
West Des Moines 116: Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1025 28th St
West Des Moines 117: Sacred Heart Parish Hall, 1627 Grand Ave
West Des Moines 211 and West Des Moines 212: Valley United Methodist Church, 4201 Ashworth
West Des Moines 312 and West Des Moines 313: Shepherd of the Valley Church, 3900 Ashworth
Windsor Heights 1 and Windsor Heights 3: Windsor Heights Community Center, 6900 School St
Windsor Heights 2: Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, 1240 66th St.
Dallas County polling places
Clive 5: Point of Grace Church, 305 NE Dartmoor Drive
Clive 6: Shuler Elementary School, 16400 Douglas Parkway
Waukee 1: Grace Lutheran Church, 900 Warrior Lane
Waukee 2: Waukee YMCA, 210 N Warrior Lange
Waukee 3: Waukee Public Works Building, 805 University Avenue
Waukee 4: Westview Church, 1155 SE Boone Drive
Waukee 5: St. Boniface Church, 1200 Warrior Lane
Waukee 6: Waukee School Administration Building, 560 SE University Avenue
West Des Moines 221 and West Des Moines 222: Lutheran Church of Hope, 925 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines 223: Beautiful Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8051 EP True Parkway
West Des Moines 225: st. Francis of Assisi Church, 7075 Ashworth Road
West Des Moines 226: Crossroads Fellowship Church, 1200 60th St
West Des Moines 321: Edgewater Wesley Life Community, 9225 Cascade Avenue
Official bio for Charles Schneider
Charles was first elected to the West Des Moines City Council in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. Currently serving his second term, Charles is serving as Mayor Pro-Tem, chairs the Council's Finance and Administration Subcommittee, and serves on the Council's Public Safety Subcommittee. He is the Council's liaison to the West Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees. He also represents the Council on the Board of Directors of the Wastewater Reclamation Authority and the Metro Waste Authority.
Before being elected to City Council, Charles was a Plan and Zoning Commissioner, President of the West Des Moines Development Corporation, a member of West Des Moines Rotary and the Iowa Taxpayers Association's Accountable Government Committee, and served on the Board of Directors of Central Iowa Shelter & Services, a Des Moines homeless shelter.
Charles is also Counsel for Principal Financial Group, where he has worked since 2007. His legal work has involved derivatives, securities, insurance, and business law. Before joining Principal, he was a lawyer with the law firm of Dickinson Mackaman Tyler & Hagen, PC.
Charles was a member of the 2006-2007 Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and of the Des Moines Business Record's 2007 Forty Under 40 class. He also was a member of the 2003-2004 Leadership Iowa class. In 2011, he received the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute's Distinguished Government Leadership Award.
Charles attended Sacred Heart School and Dowling High School in West Des Moines before his family moved to Newton, where he graduated from Newton Senior High School. He received his Bachelor's Degree from Creighton University, and his law and MBA degrees from the University of Iowa. He and his wife Lisa reside in West Des Moines and are members of St. Francis of Assisi Church.
Official bio for Desmund Adams
Desmund Adams is a small business owner who spent the last six years building his executive recruiting and human resources firm. His firm, ADAMSDOUGLAS, is a national executive search leader.
Recognized as a national leader in the senior executive recruitment and executive diversity spaces, Adams was invited and attended United States President Barack Obama's historic ceremony announcing his appointees to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Adams was invited to attend the White House ceremony because of his knowledge of business and economic issues and to be an advocate about the stimulus bill and further economic efforts in the future. Furthermore, Adams is recognized as an Iowa state leader and is proudly in receipt of a State of Iowa House of Representative Certificate of Achievement in 2009 for business and civic leadership.
Adams earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1999 at Drake University Law School. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1996 from Drake University. During his legal studies, Desmund held an intern-clerkship with The Honorable Louis A. Lavorato (former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court) and fulfilled a clerkship with The Honorable Don C. Nickerson (formerly U.S. Assistant District Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa and now Judge in District Court 5C of Iowa).
Adams is The Former National Chairman of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.'s College Life to Corporate Life Initiative (C2C) and he personally designed & developed the National Champions of Change Internship Program. The National C2C Internship model was based on the local Des Moines area Champions of Change Internship model which was designed by Desmund. His experience as a former teacher of the Des Moines Public Independent School System was a genesis in creating such an ambitious initiative.
Adams is a committee member of The Greater Des Moines Committee. He is a Board Member of Mercy College of Health Sciences. He is a member of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. He is also a Board Member of the Zeta Kappa Lambda Educational Foundation. Adams also raises funds for several not-for-profit community initiatives facilitating minority achievement in high school and college. He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and the 2012 Gamma Eta Boule President. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He was on the Des Moines University 2010 Glanton Scholarship Steering Committee; and formerly served as President on the Grubb YMCA Board of Managers.
Desmund was born in Macomb, Illinois but attained his B.A. and J.D. degrees at Drake University. It was during law school that he met his wife Shondalette, who obtained a Creighton University doctorate in pharmacy. Dr. Shondalette Adams works as a clinical pharmacist at Critical Care Systems. Together they are raising two boys: Khalil who was born in July 1995 and Solomon in January 2009.
Senate district 22 includes parts of Polk and Dallas Counties, including the Des Moines suburbs of Waukee, Clive and Windsor Heights as well as a large area in West Des Moines: