# Rob Sand



Todd Halbur concedes state auditor's race to Rob Sand

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.”

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Self-governance: It could be worse. It should be better

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.

“It could be worse.”

At the start of 2022, friends may have uttered those four words to console or comfort us.

As the midterm elections approach, those four words may be prophetic.

Every election in a democracy —from township to presidency — is threatened by voters who are ill-informed, misinformed, and/or uninformed.

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Iowa GOP establishment abandons state auditor candidate

When Governor Kim Reynolds made news in May by pleading with supporters to help her get her “own” attorney general and a state auditor who wouldn’t scrutinize her actions, Republican Party of Iowa state chair Jeff Kaufmann defended the appeal. In a written statement, Kaufmann said the governor “should be promoting Republican candidates up and down the ticket,” because “Iowans know how worthless our current state auditor, state treasurer and attorney general have been.”

But since Mary Ann Hanusa (the insiders’ pick for state auditor) unexpectedly lost the GOP primary in June, top Iowa Republicans have done virtually nothing to support the party’s nominee Todd Halbur. He goes into the home stretch of the campaign with little money or media exposure. Meanwhile, the incumbent Rob Sand is on track to spend more than a million dollars on various forms of advertising.

Halbur did not respond to phone or email messages seeking comment on the lack of support from his party, and whether it’s related to the whistleblower lawsuit he filed, naming one of Reynolds’ appointees.

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Iowa GOP candidates love state fair, shun DM Register Soapbox

Politicians love spending time at the Iowa State Fair, and many candidates for state and federal offices made multiple visits this year. But in a break with a long-running practice, Republicans seeking statewide and federal offices mostly shunned the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox.

Just three of the eleven GOP candidates invited to the Soapbox were willing to devote 20 minutes of their state fair visit to a public speech outlining their agenda. Every elected Republican official steered clear.

Avoiding the Register’s platform is another sign of growing Republican hostility toward traditional Iowa media. Other recent examples: some GOP candidates refused to meet with high-profile editorial boards in 2018 and 2020, and Iowa Senate leaders abandoned more than a century of tradition to kick reporters off the chamber’s press bench this year.

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Favorite wildflowers of Iowa's 2022 Democratic ticket

For this post-primary election edition of Iowa wildflower Wednesday, I asked all of Iowa’s Democratic nominees for federal or statewide offices about their favorite wildflowers.

The candidates could choose any flowering plant. It didn’t have to be a native species or one that tends to bloom in Iowa around this time of year.

I’m presenting the wildflower choices in the same order the candidates appeared on the Iowa Secretary of State’s 2022 primary candidate list.

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Todd Halbur scores big upset in Iowa GOP state auditor primary

The establishment candidate should have focused more on the Iowa Republican primary for state auditor.

Unofficial returns from the June 7 election show Mary Ann Hanusa received 79,875 votes (48.8 percent) to 83,843 votes (51.2 percent) for Todd Halbur. The result shocked me, since Hanusa had the public backing of the governor, most of Iowa’s Congressional delegation, and many state legislators, whereas Halbur was virtually unknown when he filed nominating papers in March.

But Hanusa did little to reach Republicans who turned out in large numbers this week, due to the many competitive legislative primaries around the state.

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