Tama County voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, helping shape the race to come this November with their choices in primary elections on both the Democratic and Republican sides.
One of the most closely watched races, and one with national importance, was the Republican contest between Ben Lange, an attorney from Independence, and Rod Blum, a businessman from Dubuque, for the United States House of Representatives 1st District. The district, which was recently expanded to include all of Tama County, along with larger cities like Cedar Rapids, was heavily contested, but ended up going to Lange, who also served as the party's nominee in 2010. Lange finished with 56% of the countywide vote, versus 43% for Blum, according to the unofficial results released by the Iowa Secretary of State office. The margin was closer for Lange in the district-wide race, where he finished with 52% of the vote to Blum's 48%.
Lange will now face incumbent Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo), who he lost to by less than two percentage points in the 2010 election.
Above, the election crew in Traer spent the day helping prospective voters. They are (L to R): Angie Gates, Judy Robb, Judy Holst and Jean Wellman. Below, a possible future voter helps his mom cast her ballot.
In more locally-focused races, the Democratic race for the party's District 72 seat was also hotly contested, with Nathan Wrage, of Gladbrook, beating out Christina Blackcloud-Garcia. It was a close race, but Wrage finished with more than 53% of the vote breaking his way. He accumulated 416 total votes to Blackcloud-Garcia's 358. At the Traer polling place, Wrage eeked out a 16-15 advantage. He will now move on to face Dean Fisher (R-Montour) in the general election in the fall for the chance to represent the 72nd District.
The Traer Star-Clipper will have further looks at area candidates over the course of the summer and early fall. The paper also hopes to have one-on-one interviews with all candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, over the next few months, to help keep area voters well informed.