It took as long as procedurally possible, but Mike Naig earned the Republican Party’s nomination for Iowa secretary of agriculture.
Naig, the current state ag secretary, outlasted four other candidates during voting Saturday at the party’s state convention at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
About 1,200 Republican activists chose their party’s ag secretary candidate at the convention after none of the candidates had received the required 35 percent of the vote during the June 5 primary election.
It took three rounds of voting at Saturday’s convention before the delegates selected Naig over Ray Gaesser, 647-548.
“During this campaign I have laid out my vision for the future of agriculture, and that is attracting and inspiring the next generation of Iowans to consider careers in agriculture, to plant their seeds, to grow their roots in our communities, to have families and to get involved,” Naig told the convention crowd just before the voting.
A majority vote is required to earn the nomination at convention. If no candidate receives a majority of delegate votes, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the delegates vote again.
Naig won each round of voting, but did not receive a majority share until the final round. By then, the field had been whittled to him and Gaesser.
Chad Ingels was eliminated in the first round of voting, followed by Craig Lang and Dan Zumbach.
Naig also received the most votes in the June 5 primary election.
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Naig is a former deputy ag secretary. He was appointed in March to the top post by Gov. Kim Reynolds after former Sec. Bill Northey accepted a position in the federal ag department.
Northey endorsed Naig and earlier Saturday hosted an event to rally support for him.
“I will make this promise to you: I will continue to work with all of my effort to build a brighter future. I will bring a conservative voice, common sense and leadership to the department,” Naig said.
Democratic ag secretary candidate Tim Gannon issued a statement congratulating Naig for securing the Republican nomination. They will square off in the November election.
“I am excited to continue traveling throughout Iowa to discuss the issues that matter to Iowans. Now, more than ever, we must work to advocate for Iowa farmers and others who depend on a strong agricultural economy,” Gannon said. “As secretary of agriculture, I will work to open more markets for Iowa products, advocate for additional funding for public research, work to preserve the world’s best soil, and improve water quality for all.”
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