Iowa House district 21 special election preview: Tom Moore vs. Tim Ennis

Voters will elect a new state representative tomorrow in Iowa House district 21, which covers all of Union and Adams counties, most of Cass County, and some rural areas in Pottawattamie County (see enclosed map). The winner will succeed longtime Iowa House Republican Jack Drake, who passed away in October.

Tom Moore is the GOP candidate here, having won a six-way contest at a special nominating convention easily on the first ballot. I have been unable to find a detailed bio on Moore, but Ian Richardson reported for the Creston News Advertiser that Moore lives in Griswold (Cass County) and is a "retired teacher and former assistant manager for Southwest Iowa Ag in Massena."

Moore will face Democrat Tim Ennis, a longtime resident of Corning (Adams County) who has held various jobs in the agriculture sector, particularly grain marketing. More background on Ennis is below. He was the 2014 Democratic challenger to Drake.

Although anything can happen in a low-turnout special election, Moore should hold Drake's seat with little trouble. House district 21 contains more than twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office. Mitt Romney outpolled Barack Obama here by 53.64 percent to 45.01 percent in 2012; Joni Ernst crushed Bruce Braley here by a 2:1 margin in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. Also last November, Drake defeated Ennis in the Iowa House race by more than 3,000 votes.

I enclose below a district map and more background on Ennis. UPDATE: Added more information about Moore.

SECOND UPDATE: Moore won the election by 1,409 votes to 853 according to unofficial results. I had to laugh at the comment from Republican State Leadership Committee President Matt Walter: "His victory allows House Republicans to strengthen their majority—proving yet again that Republicans win by running qualified and experienced candidates who connect with voters, even in states twice carried by President Obama." No, Moore's victory allows the GOP to maintain the same Iowa House majority (57 to 43 seats), and he won because this is a strongly Republican district.

Iowa House district 21:

Iowa House district 21 photo IowaHD21_zpsr0ka2vz4.jpg

From an Iowa House Democrats blog post on Tim Ennis from 2014:

Tim Ennis is a resident of Adams County since 1971, and is active as a leader and volunteer in many community activities and organizations. Tim served as Adams County Extension Council President for 10 years. Tim is a member of the Knights of Columbus and has held area K of C offices. He is a member of the Corning Rotary Club and has served locally as club president and as District Assistant Governor for Rotary clubs in Atlantic, Corning, Creston and Lenox. He has been a member of the Adams County Democratic party since 1973 and has served as county chairperson.

Tim lives and works in Corning, Iowa, where he began his career in 1971. Most of his career has been as a contract negotiator and grain marketing consultant for cooperative grain producers. Since 2004 he has managed NFO’s organic grain marketing division. He has been a member of Farm Bureau since 1991 when he worked for Farm Bureau as an insurance agent in Union county. For six years beginning in 1997, Tim worked twenty counties of Southwest Iowa for the beginning farmer program, Ag Connect, based in Lenox.

Tim and his wife Kathy have 3 children and 3 grandsons who all live in the Des Moines area. Tim was born and raised on a typical family farm, the oldest of 11 children. He earned a BA in Economics in 1970 from the U. of Chicago. His favorite pastimes are gardening, hunting and golfing.

From a Republican press release of November 10:

Moore Nominated in House District 21 Nominating Convention

(GRISWOLD) – Today Tom Moore (R-Griswold), a retired teacher and coach, was elected as the Republican candidate for State Representative in House District 21.

Moore was a teacher and coach in Griswold for 33 years and is currently serving his second term on the Griswold school board.

As a teacher, coach, and school board member, Moore will bring a great deal of experience to the Legislature. “I have always encouraged my students to get involved, and I am now taking my own advice,” said Moore. “I will be a conservative voice in Des Moines to keep the Legislature on a fiscally responsible path. I look forward to listening to the voters and will work hard to represent them well.”

Moore is the Membership Chairman of the Iowa Football Coaches Association, an Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame wrestling official with 38 years of experience, an Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union softball official with 25 years of experience, and a member of the Cass County Conference Board. He and his wife, Jewell have three adult children.

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