As we look ahead to November’s elections, Ankeny Patch is devoted to bringing you the information you need about every race in town. Here are five that locals are already talking about:
Ankeny City Council: Although 2012 is not a scheduled election year for the Ankeny council, the unexpected resignation of council member Craig Block prompted city residents to petition the council for a special election. In response, Bobbi Bentz and Gary Key have filed to fill the empty seat. A special election will be held Aug. 14 to decide who's to become the next council member. Should another candidate file papers by noon today, a primary will be held July 17.
Polk County Board of Supervisors: In January, for the revamped 3rd District seat on the Polk County Board of Supervisors. Van Oort will run as a Republican candidate for the seat, which will represent the cities of Ankeny, Bondurant, Altoona, Mitchellville, Pleasant Hill and other parts of unincorporated eastern Polk County. If elected, Van Oort would be required to relinquish his position as Ankeny mayor once sworn in. Someone would then be chosen to complete Van Oort’s term, which expires at the end of 2013, either by city council appointment or special election.
House District 37 & 38: On June 6, the Iowa Primary was held for all contested state house races, including House District 38 and the newly-created District 37, both of which encompass parts of Ankeny. Following the primary, current Republican Rep. Kevin Koester received almost 85 percent of the popular vote to move on to the November election and will face Democrat John Phoenix. While the primary vote was about social issues — Koester is a staunch pro-life candidate and supporter of traditional marriage — he said the fall elections will be about the economy.
In the race for House District 37, political newcomer and Republican Jim Robidoux, a Spanish teacher at , had the most votes in the six-way contest. However, Robidoux was not declared the official winner as he was unable to garner the 35 percent of votes he needed. Primary races in which no candidate reaches the threshold must go to a special nominating convention of central committee members. Votes in House District 37 will be canvassed June 25 to ensure the initial count doesn’t change.
Congressman Leonard Boswell: The Democratic incumbent was thrown into a new Third District by re-districting and faces what the Des Moines Register is calling an uphill battle for re-election against incumbent Republican Tom Latham, who currently represents Iowa's Fourth District. Both have an agriculture background and a long tenure in Congress — Boswell has served for 15 years and Latham has been in the House of Representatives for 17 years.
Iowa Supreme Court retention: Two years ago Iowans ousted three members of the Supreme Court for their support of a unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in the state. This November, another justice who took part in that ruling, David S. Wiggins, is up for retention. Also up for retention are the three newest justices on the court, who replaced those who lost their seats. The three new justices on the ballot are Thomas D. Waterman, Edward Mansfield and Bruce Zager.