116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In a primary battle of two county auditors, Democrat Joel Miller on Tuesday won his party’s nomination for Iowa secretary of state.
Miller, the Linn County auditor since 2007, bested Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker in the primary, with 97,883 votes -- 71.5 percent of the 136,774 votes cast.
Miller will face Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, a former Cedar Rapids mayor, in the Nov. 8 general election. Pate has been secretary of state since 2015 and held the job once before in the 1990s.
“I’m grateful as usual,” Miller told The Gazette on Tuesday night. “I think that’s a mandate by Democrats to go out and fight like hell to try and beat the incumbent.”
In the primary, Van Lancker raised around $77,000 in donations while Miller reported around $5,000.
Miller, a former Robins mayor and city council member, said he is running to be an advocate for Iowa voters, adding he is displeased with voting laws the Iowa Legislature has passed in recent years.
“I’m running to make voting easy again,” Miller has previously said.
Miller said he was motivated to run after being sued by former President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2020 election campaign. A judge sided with the Trump campaign, invalidating around 50,000 absentee ballot request forms that Miller had mailed to voters
In March, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 413 that shortened the early voting period from 29 to 20 days; added rules about how absentee ballots can be returned and limited county auditors’ authority within the election process.
Iowa Republicans, who control the Legislature, previously shortened the early voting period from 40 days to 29 days in 2017 with the Voter ID law.
If elected, Miller said one of the first things he would do would lobby for automatic voter registration for 17-year-olds.
Miller said Tuesday night he will concentrate on getting into rural Iowa and talking to voters of all parties.
“Iowans like our incumbents. How else do you explain Chuck Grassley?” Miller said. “You have to give people a reason to fire the incumbent, and I think there’s plenty of good reasons why people are receptive to firing Paul Pate and hiring Joel Miller.”
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