Retiring Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek running for Iowa House

He will face Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann in House 73

Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek address attendees March 20, 2017, during a lunch break for training for first res
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek address attendees March 20, 2017, during a lunch break for training for first responders at St. Patrick’s Church in Iowa City. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek wants to move from enforcing the law to making the law.

Pulkrabek, a Democrat, announced in May 2019 that he would not seek a fourth term as sheriff. Thursday, he announced his campaign for House District 73 in the Iowa Legislature. He will challenge Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann in November’s election.

“After 35 years in law enforcement, I’ve learned how the policies made in Des Moines affect our local communities in Cedar and Johnson counties,” Pulkrabek, 56, said in his announcement.

“That just made my day,” Kaufmann said when he read Pulkrabek’s announcement, which failed to acknowledge the district also includes about 3,000 voters in the Wilton area of Muscatine County — the incumbent’s home territory.

About 30 percent of House 73 voters live in Johnson County; 60 percent live in Cedar County where Kaufmann’s father is a county supervisor; and 10 percent live in Muscatine County.

“It’s time for new leadership in the Iowa House who will put the interests of everyday Iowans and our local communities ahead of the special interests and party leaders,” Pulkrabek said.

“I know what laws are working and what laws aren’t, and I will use my experience to fix them,” he said. “I’ll listen to the people of Cedar and Johnson counties and work together to invest in public schools, make health care affordable, create jobs and revitalize rural communities. That’s exactly the kind of representative I will be for you in Des Moines.”


Kaufmann acknowledged that Pulkrabek, who has run and won four times countywide, will be a challenge.

“But I don’t see this race as any more or less tough than any other race,” said Kaufmann, 34, who is serving his fourth term. “I treat every race the same. I run on my record, I talk to the people and run a positive campaign.”

Kaufmann, chairman of the House State Government Committee, said he has one of the most independent voting records in the House — “and a record of accomplishing things.”

Pulkrabek and his wife, Julie, are lifelong Iowans. They have been married for 28 years and have one son.

Iowa House members serve two-year terms and are paid $25,000 a year.

Comments: (319) 398-8375;

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.