DES MOINES — Deidre DeJear was holding on to a small lead late Tuesday in her bid to make Iowa history by becoming the first African American nominated by a major political party for a statewide office.
With 22 of 99 counties reporting on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, DeJear, 32, of Des Moines, was leading with 52.1 percent of the ballots cast in the Democratic primary for secretary of state. Jim Mowrer, also 32 and from Des Moines, had 47.7 percent.
If DeJear holds on for a victory in her first bid for statewide office, she will go on to face Republican incumbent Paul Pate in the November general election.
Pate, 60, of Cedar Rapids, was unopposed in his re-election bid. He is seeking a third term as secretary of state after serving one term in the 1990s and being elected again in 2014.
DeJear, a Drake University graduate and a former Bankers Trust small-business loan officer who started a business that helps small-business owners, campaigned on the theme of using the Secretary of State’s Office to increase participation in elections rather than create barriers for voters.
Another priority she stressed was making the office more responsive to the needs of small-business owners.
The secretary of state’s most visible duties involve providing services for businesses and administering elections.
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Mowrer, a native of Boone who works at a nonprofit and at Grand View University as an adjunct professor, was making his third bid for public office.
He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2014 against Steve King and in 2016 against David Young.
Mowrer, a former Iowa National Guardsman who served in Iraq and later as an aide in the Pentagon, created a political action committee after Donald Trump’s 2016 win to advocate for abolishing the Electoral College.
The Majority Rules PAC took in nearly $130,000 through the end of March. The PAC has contributed to and endorsed Mowrer’s 2018 campaign and made payments to Mowrer’s consulting firm. The Iowa GOP contends that violates state law. A Mowrer aide says the PAC was created under federal law, so state rules shouldn’t apply.
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