At least five Republicans seeking to represent Iowa Senate district 12

At least five people are openly seeking the GOP nomination in Iowa Senate district 12, where a special election will be held on December 30 to replace U.S. Senator-elect Joni Ernst. In addition to State Representative Mark Costello and Fremont County Supervisor Cara Morgan, Clarinda School Board member Seth Watkins, Montgomery County GOP Chair Margaret Stoldorf, and Ringgold County GOP activist Tracee Knapp have all announced their candidacies. Watkins is a grain and livestock farmer as well as a 14-year incumbent on the school board. Stoldorf is a former Montgomery County supervisor and has managed a family farm as well. Knapp works for Children and Families of Iowa and operates a cattle farm, along with her husband.

KMA Radio 99.1 has invited all the candidates to take part in a one-hour radio forum at 7 pm on Monday, December 8.  Other candidates may declare before the GOP special nominating convention on December 11. I have not yet heard of any Democratic candidate in this overwhelmingly Republican district. Ernst ran unopposed in 2012.

About the Author(s)


  • John Deeth asks...

    “Speaking of special elections: Should Dems even bother to try in the two upcoming legislative special elections? Joni Ernst’s seat is the third or fourth most Republican, and the late Dwayne Alons had the number ONE Republican House seat.”


    • on principle

      I think it’s better to have a candidate on the ballot than not, but I don’t blame people for not wanting to run as a Democrat here.

    • Yes

      Why not?  Is the state party obligated to pour thousands if a candidate gets into either race?  I’m asking a serious question, I haven’t read the party by-laws.  

  • No

    The current crew running the IDP couldn’t mount credible campaigns in competitive races, so why bother in GOP strongholds?  We came within one Senate seat of Armageddon. Clearly, it’s time for some changes, top to bottom. The GOP did what it needed to do, and reaped the rewards. Dems? How about it?