# Ruth Smith



Republican Joni Ernst wins Senate district 48 special election

Montgomery County will need to find a new auditor, because Joni Ernst won today’s special election in Iowa Senate district 48. With all seven counties reporting, Ernst led Democrat Ruth Smith by 4,978 votes to 2,400 (67 percent to 33 percent), according to unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

Kim Reynolds was elected to this seat in 2008 but resigned from the Senate after being elected lieutenant governor. The district comprises the south and southwest Iowa counties of Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Taylor, Ringgold, and Decatur.

Ernst’s victory gives the Republicans 23 seats in the upper chamber of the Iowa legislature. Democrats hold a slim majority with 26 seats. Senate district 35 will be filled in a January 18 special election between Republican Jack Whitver and Democrat John Calhoun.

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Ruth Smith is the Democratic candidate for Iowa Senate district 48

A special nominating convention on December 1 chose Ruth Smith as the Democratic candidate for the January 4 special election in Iowa Senate district 48. Smith was the Democratic nominee in this district in 2008, losing to Kim Reynolds by 53 percent to 43 percent. Reynolds vacated the seat after being elected lieutenant governor.

After the jump I've posted biographical information on Smith from her campaign website. She's a Lamoni native and current resident who works as a physical therapist in several southern Iowa counties. Her issues page focuses on health care, education, farming, small business and industrial policies.

Senate district 48 covers Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Montgomery, Ringgold, Taylor and Union counties. As of November 1, the district contained 10,444 registered Democrats, 15,257 Republicans and 14,306 no-party voters. Republicans have nominated Montgomery County Auditor Joni Ernst for the special election.

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Republican Joni Ernst nominated for Iowa Senate district 48

Yesterday Republicans in Iowa Senate district 48 formally nominated Montgomery County Auditor Joni Ernst for the January 4 special election in Iowa Senate district 48. Ernst declared her candidacy the same day Kim Reynolds resigned from the seat in order to serve as lieutenant governor. The district covers seven counties in south and southwestern Iowa.

Democrats will nominate a candidate for the special election on November 30. Ruth Smith, Reynolds’ Democratic opponent in 2008, is running for the seat again. For reasons I discussed here, Republicans are strongly favored to hold this district.

Recounts are ongoing in Senate district 13 (where Democrat Tod Bowman leads by 71 votes) and Senate district 47 (where Republican Mark Chelgren leads by 12). In the district 47 recount, only Wapello County ballots are being recounted. The official state canvass is this Saturday. If current leads hold, Democrats will have a 26-23 Senate majority going into the special election.

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Previewing the Iowa Senate district 48 special election

Governor Chet Culver has set the special election in Iowa Senate district 48 for Tuesday, January 4. Kim Reynolds resigned from that seat after being elected lieutenant governor. Senate district 48 comprises seven southwest Iowa counties: Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Taylor, Ringgold, and Decatur.

Both parties will hold nominating conventions soon to choose candidates for this race. The Republican is likely to be Montgomery County Auditor Joni Ernst, who announced her candidacy immediately after Reynolds resigned. The Democratic candidate will probably be Ruth Smith, who ran against Reynolds in 2008. Smith is from Lamoni (Decatur County) and travels the district in her work as a physical therapist and coach. Her campaign website is here.

Anything can happen in a low-turnout special election, but Republicans are strongly favored to hold this seat. As of November 1, there were 10,444 registered Democrats, 15,257 Republicans and 14,306 no-party voters in Senate district 48. Reynolds defeated Smith 53 percent to 43 percent in 2008. In this year’s election, Culver received well under 40 percent of the vote in all of the seven counties and didn’t even break 30 percent in Montgomery County. Republican Joel Fry easily defeated Democratic State Representative Mike Reasoner in House district 95, containing Decatur, Clarke and most of Union county. GOP State Representative Cecil Dolecheck was unopposed in House district 96, which makes up the rest of Senate district 48.

If Republicans hold Senate district 48 and recounts don’t change the results in Senate districts 13 and 47, Democrats will hold a 26-24 in the Iowa Senate next year.

UPDATE: The Iowa Democratic Party’s special nominating convention will take place on December 1 in Creston. Republicans will nominate their candidate on November 23 in Creston.

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