Jim Robidoux says Ankeny voters are informed, passionate and appreciate a clean political race.
He credits a six-person race for House District 37 where all the candidates focused on issues with good voter turnout today -- more than 2,000 ballots cast in Ankeny.
This is Robidoux's first try for elected office; his day job is as a Spanish teacher at Northview Middle School.
"I've been working hard at this since October. Tonight I sat down for the first time to watch an hour of TV," he said. "I'm so very thankful for our democracy and the opportunity to serve the people."
According to unofficial Polk County Election Office returns, Robidoux received 714 votes for 34.38 percent; followed by Matt DeVries with 617 votes or 29.71 percent; John Landon with 360 votes or 17.33 percent; Jeffery A. Wright with 320 votes for 15.41 percent; Jacob Mason with 35 votes for 1.69 percent; and Stacey C. Rogers with 30 votes for 1.44 percent.
Robidoux came out on top of the heap, but is two votes shy of the 35 percent mark needed to claim outright victory.
Fellow Republican Kevin Koester, who easily won his primary challenge, said the state GOP party will have to call a convention for District 37 and ask delegates to officially choose a winner.
Koester captured 454 votes in his race, or 84.7 percent, to challenger Brett Nelson's 80 votes for 14.93 percent.
Koester, who is seeking his third term in District 38, praised the slate of GOP candidates for Ankeny's two seats.
"I would be honored to work with any of those six," he said of Robidoux's race, calling it a historic night for Ankeny politics. "That's good for the democratic process, it's a night to celebrate."
He also had praise for his challenger.
"I'd like to thank Brett Nelson for a clean cut operation in our campaign," Koester said. "I want to wish him the best in his life pursuits."