GOP nominee Todd Halbur has conceded the state auditor’s race to Rob Sand after the Republican Party of Iowa refused to assist his campaign with a recount.
Unofficial results show the Democratic incumbent leading Halbur by 600,719 votes to 597,826 (50.1 percent to 49.8 percent). It’s extremely unlikely a statewide recount would have helped the Republican overcome a 2,893 vote deficit, given that the 2020 recount in Iowa’s second Congressional district (covering one-fourth of Iowa) only changed a few dozen votes. Recounts in state legislative races typically change a handful of votes.
However, Halbur told the Des Moines Register last week he planned to request a recount to address what he called “human error, technical errors and maybe even some blatant egregious errors that have happened to our votes across this state.”
In a November 18 Facebook post, Halbur wrote,
My campaign unfortunately lacks the resources and manpower to conduct a legitimate recount in this statewide race.
The State GOP organization and their leadership team have failed to provide any support and resources to my campaign towards this effort.
This leaves me with no other option than to abandon this recount effort just as the State GOP organization has abandoned my campaign.
Bleeding Heartland previously reported on the Republican Party of Iowa’s refusal to support Halbur’s campaign financially. The state auditor nominee was also excluded from Governor Kim Reynolds’ campaign bus tour, where other statewide candidates appeared at GOTV rallies around the state.
Top Iowa Republicans have not explained why they froze out Halbur. Possible relevant factors: he defeated the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate in the primary, and had sued a Reynolds appointee for wrongful termination. In addition, as I wrote last month,
When Sand highlights wrongdoing or misspent funds, Reynolds tries to spin it as a partisan attack. She wouldn’t be able to do that with a Republican who took his watchdog role seriously—like State Auditor Richard Johnson did during Branstad’s first stint as governor.
A forthcoming post will analyze the state auditor’s race in more detail. Sand was the only Democratic statewide official to survive Iowa’s red wave. Long-serving Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald lost by 20,542 and 30,922 votes, respectively, despite outperforming the Democratic nominee for governor by more than 100,000 votes.