ELECTION 2020

Bobby Kaufmann among Republicans to win competitive Iowa House seats in Eastern Iowa

Andy McKean loses seat in first year running as Democrat

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Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, got a big win Tuesday night with about 60 percent of the ballots counted in House District 73, which includes all of Cedar County and parts of Johnson and Muscatine counties.

“To win by 20 percentage points is a very satisfying feeling,” Kaufmann told The Gazette. “This shows that House District 73 is not for sale.”

» ELECTION RESULTS: Follow as more state, local and national race results come in

Kaufmann, son of Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of Iowa Republican Party, criticized his Democratic opponent, Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, for taking out-of-state campaign donations and running attack ads against Kaufmann.

“Negative smear attacks do not work. I have won a resounding landslide victory,” he said.

This will be Kaufmann’s fifth two-year term in the Iowa House.

Pulkrabek won Johnson County, where he’s been sheriff for 16 years and has served as deputy sheriff since 1985, but did not prevail overall in the district that is evenly divided among Republicans, Democrats and no-party voters.

Republicans picked up victories in a handful of other competitive Iowa House districts in Eastern Iowa.

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Republican Rep. Michael Bergan defeated Democratic challenger Kayla Koether in House District 55 by more than 1,400 votes two years after defeating Koether by only nine votes.

“I really did expect another close race this year,” Bergan told The Gazette. “I’m really relieved and appreciative of the support I’ve gotten.”

Bergan attributed the wider margin to “personal contact” through door-to-door campaigning and President Donald Trump being on the ballot.

The district, which includes parts of Fayette, Clayton and Winneshiek counties, has 7,082 registered Republicans, 6,524 registered Democrats and 6,235 registered voters without a party affiliation.

In the extremely close race between Bergan and Koether in 2018, 29 mail-in ballots were not properly postmarked. The Republican-controlled Iowa House voted to exclude the mail-in ballots, which ensured Bergan’s reelection in 2018, after Koether asked for a recount in two of the three counties.

Bergan has held the seat since 2016, and the Republicans have held the seat since 2014.

In House District 58, Republican challenger Steve Bradley unseated Democrat Rep. Andy McKean on Tuesday night, with about a 7 percent win.

“I knew it was going to be very challenging going against a longtime politician,” Bradley said. “I may have been outspent, but I outworked him.”

McKean, 71 and from Anamosa, spent more than two decades in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate as a Republican before moving to the Democratic Party in 2019 after becoming “increasingly uncomfortable” with the Republican Party’s stances.

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The district, which includes all of Jackson County and parts of Jones and Dubuque counties, has 7,831 registered voters without a party affiliation, 7,148 registered Democrats and 6,801 registered Republicans.

District 58 has been under Republican control since 1994.

In House District 67, Democrat Eric Gjerde defeated Republican Sally Ann Abbott by almost 7 percent. The district includes parts of Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, Robins and Marion.

Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson is vacating the seat as she runs for Congress in Iowa’s 1st District.

The district has 8,272 registered Democrats, 7,845 registered Republicans and 7,685 registered voters without a party affiliation.

In District 64, Republican Chad Ingels defeated Democrat Jodi Grover in the district that covers parts of Buchanan and Fayette counties. Democratic Rep. Bruce Beringer, the incumbent, is leaving the seat as he takes a position at Northeast Iowa Community College.

District 64 has 7,644 registered voters without a party affiliation, 5,647 registered Democrats and 5,477 registered Republicans.

Farther north, in House District 95, Republican Charlie McClintock defeated Democrat Christian Andrews. The district includes parts of Linn and Buchanan counties.

Rep. Louis Zumbach, the incumbent and a Republican, chose not to pursue reelection. The district has 7,871 registered voters without a party affiliation, 7,326 registered Republicans and 7,232 registered Democrats.

Representatives in the Iowa House receive a $25,000 annual salary.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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