Five Vie for Republican Nomination in Senate District 35

Larry Noble was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2006.  He won that race by 1274 votes.  In doing so, he became the lone member of the Republican freshman class in the Senate that year.  Iowa Democrats didn’t challenge Noble in his 2010 re-election campaign, even if they had it is likely that Noble would have been easily elected.

Earlier this month, Governor-Elect Terry Branstad selected Noble to be the commissioner the Department of Public Safety.    Noble is well qualified for his new position, but in selecting Noble, Branstad also created a vacancy in the State Senate, necessitating a special election in Senate District 35.

Nobel’s 2010 campaign was a sleepy one, but the campaign to be his replacement looks like it’s going to be a barnburner.  Currently there are five individuals actively seeking the Republican nomination.  The slate of candidates is as diverse as it is large.

Here is a snap shot of the candidates.

Jim Gocke
Attorney at Block, Lamberti, Gocke & Ahlman, P.C. in Ankeny
Home: Bondurant
Age: 56

Note: One of Gocke’s law partners is Jeff Lamberti.  Lamberti held the Senate Seat until he ran for Congress in 2006.

Matt DeVries
Electrical Engineer
Home: Ankeny
Age: 32

Note: DeVries is an active member of the Campaign for Liberty. has been told that the four Campaign for Liberty members who serve on the Republican Party State Central Committee are actively supporting DeVries.

Kevin Koester:

Director of Community Education for Ankeny Community Schools
Current State Representative
Home: Ankeny
Age: 56

Note:  If Koester is the Republican nominee and wins election to the State Senate, a special election would be needed to fill his seat in the Iowa House.

Kent Kramer

Financial Planner at the Foster Group
Former State Representative
Home: Johnston
Age: 48

Note: Kramer served one term in the Iowa House from 2002 to 2004.  He represented House District 69, which is currently being represented by Erik Helland.  Kramer is also the son of Mary Kramer, the former President of the Iowa Senate and U.S. Ambassador to Barbados.

Jack Whitver

Business Owner, Acceleration Iowa
Second Year Drake Law Student
Iowa Barnstormers Assistant Coach
Home: Ankeny
Age: 30

Note: Whitver and his wife just had their first child last week.

The special nominating committee will convene on December 30th.  The special election will be held on January 18th.  Just 42 Republican delegates will decide the nominee.  With such a small group of electors, it is impossible to handicap the race.


The likely Democrat nominee is Matt Pfaltzgraf, who Koester beat in his 2008 State House campaign

0 thoughts on “Five Vie for Republican Nomination in Senate District 35

  1. Nice to see so many good candidates step forward. I hope voting in this special election is open and transparent, during the district convention ballots went in every direction to be counted.


  2. GOOD being the operative word here, MANY not so much. We have a problem in the Iowa GOP of everybody and their dog wanting to run for an office and ending up with a popularity contest vs. actually chosing the best candidate by consensus……..


  3. With the new census, and with the general election results, it’s obvious that most state senate seats around around Polk County fringes, and adjacent counties, will double with redistricting. That means that Noble’s, Behn, Sorenson and others will have their districts cut in half, or put another way, doubled. This is very good news for republicans. Pat Ward’s seat should be reduced in size, but this past election had low turnout as Cownie was unopposed, Ward wasn’t on the ballot, and no one heard of any courthouse republicans. This reduced the voter turnout in West Des Moines by thousands in her district.


  4. Its nice to see so many candidates running for this seat, however does any one else see a problem with SCC members getting involved in a nomination race here?

    SCC members should be staying out of nomination races, no matter if its a special election or not.


  5. A few questions/issues:

    Why is it only 42 delegates get to decide the nominee? Shouldn’t all the delegates in Sen. Noble’s district be allowed to vote on this? Who are the 42 delegates? Who chose them?

    Also, when are we going to wake up and realize elected Campaign for Liberty members to the State Central Committee is a HORRIBLE idea? These four are on the committee have done, and will do, nothing to help the Republican Party as a whole. They have their positions for one reason: to help Ron Paul win the Iowa Straw Poll & Iowa Caucus. They care nothing about the Republican Party. Unless there is a dramatic reversal, these four MUST be voted out when their term comes up.


  6. The Polk County Republican Party was adamant that nobody could be added as a precinct delegate if they did not attend the caucus or had their name submitted by someone who did attend.
    I live in the District and wanted to serve as a delegate but was prevented to do so because I didn’t attend the caucus.  I was at the funeral for my wife’s grandfather.  None of the caucus delegates from my precinct attended the county convention either.  I voiced my objection for this policy before the county convention.  I think its odd to turn people away who want to participate and help build the necessary county infrastructure before the 2012 caucuses, but that was their choice.


  7. Is Kramer pro-sodomy marriage, and pro-judge retention like his infamous mother?

    I suppose Vinita is going to tell us it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a Repuke.


  8. Well, actually I think Kramer is pro-life and pro-traditional marriage BUT you are quite correct, it won’t matter after the party’s nominee is chosen BECAUSE no matter what, the Republican candidate will ALWAYS be preferable to the RAT.

    Go, Republicans!!!


  9. If I recall correctly, RPI Chairman Matt Strawn endorsed Kim Reynolds for LG before the state convention making several Vander Plaats delegates upset. Support / endorsement is something that always happens in politics. I guess I’d rather know where someone stands.


  10. RedStateVictory, that might have something to do with the fact that Kim Reynolds was the chosen candidate by the WINNER OF THE PRIMARY.

    At that point, BVP had not said one word about wanting to be Lt. Governor. Of course, he tried to weasel his way onto the ticket……and LOST an election for the FIFTH TIME.


  11. BTW, even Vander Plaats’ campaign chairman, Eric Woolson, thought it was ridiculous that he tried to force his way onto the ticket.


  12. Poor Deace. Can he possibly be that braindead to expect to eliminate gay marriage and abortion by electing Democrats? Who cares about him but we actually had one of his braindead followers show up at a central committee meeting promoting that nutcase, Narcisse.


  13. Iago and DVFO – all the CFL member on the SCC have stated that their goal has always been a Republican majority. And that makes sense: CFL-type legislators like Sorenson, Massie, Pearson, and Shaw can do more as members of the majority than members of the minority. Instead of attacking them, and by extension the 10% of the party who voted for Paul and the thousands added to that movement through the tea parties, you should be thankful to Ivers and Co. for reaching out to a large group of people who were furious at the GOP for the Bush years and bringing them into the fold and putting them to work in ways that benefit your party.


  14. By extension then, DeVries is the best candidate. Aside from being a stand-up guy who would put a bright young face on the GOP in Polk County, he could reach out beyond the regular Republican Party dittoheads.


  15. “….all the CFL member on the SCC have stated that their goal has always been a Republican majority.”

    HR, when and where did they state this??? I’ve never seen nor heard it. I heard their speeches at conventions and other places and did not hear one word about “Republican majorities”.

    I have seen zero evidence of them helping any Republican candidates except for a select few (all who also might be inclined to support Ron Paul). What exactly did they do, in their duly elected role as SCC, which is to help ALL Republican candidates, to help Republicans get elected???

    I’ve seen emails from the Iowa Campaign for Liberty, including their leader & SCC member Drew Ivers, and have not seen one word about “Republican majorities”.

    Nor did I see or hear one word from any of the 4 SCC members about supporting Republican candidates for Congress like Brad Zaun, Ben Lange or Miller Meeks. Or Terry Branstad for Governor. Or Matt Schultz, Brenna Findley or Dave Jamison. I don’t remember seeing any of these SCC members at political rallies or town hall events, other than their chosen few.

    I’ll admit I’m wrong on any of this if you have evidence to the contrary.


  16. And please tell me how the 4 Campaign for Liberty members on the SCC will help the winner of the nominating convention win the special election if it is not Matt DeVries.


  17. lago, I think you are jumping to some hefty conclusions.

    The party chairman got involved with a race that was contested. The LG race was to be decided by delegates at a convention. Chairman Matt Strawn supported Kim Reynolds and opposed Bob Vander Plaats in a contested republican election. It doesn’t matter but it is true.


  18. RedState..

    Are you SERIOUSLY going to try to pull that line?  When Branstad made his selection of Reynolds as his Lt. Gov running mate, Branstad had ALREADY won the nomination for Governor.  Strawn, as State Party chair, was obligated to support our party’s nominee for Governor and the choice Branstad made for Lt. Governor.

    This is a COMPLETELY different situation here.  We have a special nominating convention for an open Iowa Senate seat.  The Campaign for Liberty members who are the SCC should NOT be getting involved in any way, shape, or form in declaring support for one candidate or another.

    It smacks of attempting to exert undue influence on these delegates who will be voting on this nomination.

    Craig…correct me if I’m wrong, even if you WEREN”T at your caucus, but you were elected as a delegate to your county convention, you should have EVERY right to participate in this nomination convention.

    The people who are the electors in this special nomination convention should be those individuals who were elected to be county convention delegates from the Senate District this election occurs in.  That’s the way we’ve always handled special nomination conventions out here.


  19. I am getting sick and tired of people on this site who are attacking good Republicans. I looked up how much these 4 SCC members have financially contributed to Candidates and County Parties in 2009 and 2010 on Iowa Campaign Finance. I also did a quick Google search and they look like party faithful. I expect they are supporting all Republicans. I was surprised at how active they ALL are in the GOP.

    Does this sound like people who don’t support our party: 5 Time RNC Convention Delegate and 3 Time SCC member, Polk County Executive Committee Member and SCC, Story County GOP Chairman and SCC, RNC Alt Delegate and SCC … Give me a break!

    $ 200 Jeremiah Johnson
    $ 825 David Fisher
    $1,310 AJ Spiker,
    $1,665 Drew Ivers


  20. RedState, you’re comparing apples and oranges. BVP never announced any intentions to run for Lt. Governor at the convention. He didn’t say one word about running.

    As Rod Roberts eloquently put it…. The people voted. Branstad won, Branstad had the right to choose his running mate. BVP then tried to claim he was going with “the will of the people”…… when the will of the people had already spoken.

    Oh, and they spoke again at the convention. And Bob lost.

    Again. For the 5th straight time.

    If the SCC pushing DeVries are at all involved with running Thursday’s nominating convention, they should recuse themselves immediately.


  21. RedState, you are missing the point. The State Central Committee’s role….it’s ONLY role, is to help Republicans get elected. That’s it. And that means ALL Republicans who win their primaries. A.J. Spiker, as Story County GOP chairman, did show up at some events, I hear.

    However, I saw no evidence that any of these 4 did anything to help Republicans overall, other than a chosen few Campaign for Liberty or Ron Paul-leaning candidates. In fact, it would not surprise me in the least if at least a couple of them did not vote for the Republican choice for Governor. Or Chuck Grassley, for that matter.

    Their agenda, from all evidence that I have seen, is not to help the Republican Party, but to help Ron Paul.

    Again, if I’m wrong on any of this, I will gladly admit it. But I have seen no evidence that I am.


  22. RedState..

    If they’ve given money to support candidates, that’s great…the POINT here that you’re failing to grasp here is that as State Central Committee members..they should NOT be declaring their support one way or the other for ANY of these 5 candidates seeking the nomination for the special election here.

    As SCC members, their job is NOT to influence WHO represents the GOP on the ballot..their job is to help ELECT GOP nominees, period.  Let the people or in this case, the delegates decide who the nominee will be for this election.  

    If for some reason, if the Campaign for Liberty SCC members don’t think they can do that and want to actively support a candidate, then they should resign their position and go do so.


  23. Does Pfaltzgraf (sp?) still have Ankeny residency? Last I knew he was in Iowa City, heading the anti-21 (bar entry age ballot issue) group.

    Might be worth looking into…


  24. I respectfully disagree with your views lago and CVN.

    Call me old fashioned but I expect a party leader to provide leadership.

    Party leaders should be actively recruiting Republican talent to run for office and should provide council to candidates. Party leaders already influence who runs for office through candidate recruitment. While I don’t always agree with the opinions or endorsements of elected officials and state/county party leaders, I definitely appreciate knowing where these leaders stand.

    We can agree to disagree on recruitment and endorsement.


  25. RedState, again, my main issue isn’t recruitment/endorsement. It is what they do in their elected roles at State Central Committee members. Unless they are willing to help all Republicans, they shouldn’t be on the SCC.

    Again, I’m betting a couple of the Campaign for Liberty guys didn’t even vote for some of the Republicans on the ballot. That’s disgraceful.

    The same goes to any county central committee members. Either help ALL Republicans, or get out of the way.


  26. RedState..

    Recruitment is a far cry from actively supporting and campaigning on the behalf of a particular candidate.    

    Besides that, there are far more important duties that SCC members should be focused on than on candidate recruitment.   That job should be best left up to County Central Committees and to the House/Senate GOP leadership.

    SCC members should be out there helping build the grassroots in their districts, serving as a conduit between RPI and the County Central committees.  Getting involved in local races such as this only creates distrust and hard feelings towards RPI and the SCC.

    Folks out in the grassroots don’t like hearing who they should and shouldn’t be supporting coming “from on high” from their State Central Committee members.


  27. Iago – I’ve heard Ivers say that a Republican majority has always been his goal. I guess I don’t have anything written in stone to prove that to you, but neither do you have evidence that they voted against Republicans, unless you followed them into the booth with your cell phone camera and got a snapshot of their ballots.

    When you talk about them publicly supporting only certain candidates, you’re looking at it all wrong. Campaign for Liberty and Dr. Paul have a simple goal – less government instead of more. Given the GOP’s track record, people with this agenda have no reason to support most Republican candidates. What Ivers and his associates have done is to go back to their followers and steer their activism into particular candidates who share their values and are running on the Republican line. Instead of excluding this 10% of the party and growing, they look for ways to put them to work that benefit the GOP. You should be happy to have their services, because I know the Libertarian or Constitution Parties would love them.

    That said, I’m not sure how I feel about SCC members getting involved in primaries. For right now, I’m just laughing at the irony of blind partisan hacks complaining about Ron Paul controlling the party.


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