Government

Bill Northey endorses his successor for election to Iowa ag post

Mike Naig will have to compete in June primary and November general election

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey asks a question before a tour at Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey asks a question before a tour at Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — A day after declining to endorse his successor while still Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey said Tuesday he’s backing Mike Naig’s election to the post.

Monday, Northey praised Naig, but stopped short of endorsing his election.

“I won’t give you an actual political endorsement,” Northey said when asked Monday. However, he did reserve the right to “weigh in … in a purely private capacity.”

Tuesday morning, private citizen Northey weighed in, tweeting that “I heartily endorse Mike Naig as our next Iowa Ag Secy.”

Northey, who resigned Monday afternoon, is scheduled to be sworn in as undersecretary for farm and foreign ag services by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue at 8 p.m. Tuesday as part of the annual Iowa Agricultural Leaders Dinner at the State Fairgrounds.

“Mike has been a great partner as my Deputy Secy of ag for 4+ yrs. Mike is ready to lead. Let’s elect Mike in June & Nov!,” Northey said in his social media post.

Naig, who officially declared his candidacy after Gov. Kim Reynolds announced she would appoint him to lead IDALS, will have to win a Republican primary to run in the November general election.

So far, Sen. Dan Zumbach of Ryan, Craig Lange of Brooklyn, Ray Gaesser of Corning and Chad Ingels of Randalia have indicated an interest in running.

Democrat Tim Gannon also has indicated he will run.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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