Nearly three-quarters of Jasper County’s registered voters — 72.87 percent — cast ballots in support of candidates for county offices. A total of 19,579 ballots were cast, with 9,015 of those counted as absentee, up from 6,600 during the 2008 election cycle, according to auditor Dennis Parrott.
Halferty elected sheriff
Ending with 12,088 votes — 63.58 percent — Democrat John Halferty has been elected sheriff of Jasper County for a four-year term. He beat out Republican Steve Hoffman, who garnered a total of 6,888 votes at 36.23 percent.
Halferty, who was born and raised in Jasper County, has served in law enforcement for nearly 25 years, most recently holding the position of chief deputy since 2000.
“I feel really blessed and I’m truly overwhelmed by the amount of support,” Halferty said shortly after election results were finalized Tuesday night, thanking his family, friends and employees. “I’m not going to take it lightly. I’ll take it very seriously and continue to work hard in my position and continue to make Jasper County a better place.”
Hoffman noted that the evening could have gone better for him, but offered his congratulations to the new sheriff.
“I believe we offered a positive message in this campaign. I laid out my resume to the citizens of Jasper County and they’ve clearly spoken,” Hoffman said of his defeat. “I wish them all the best and God speed.”
Parrott elected county auditor
Garnering 61.46 percent of the Jasper County votes with a total of 11,562, Democrat Dennis Parrott was elected to the position of county auditor for a third four-year term.
“I congratulate all the voters. This process doesn’t work without their input and direction, and the election is the best way for them to tell us the direction they want us to go,” Parrott said in a phone conversation this morning. “Obviously, I’m pleased with my election, and I thank the voters for giving me anther opportunity to serve them. People need to know that the auditor’s office isn’t just Dennis Parrott; we have eight other staff members that are real professionals, and I consider them auditor as well. I could not do it without them.”
Parrott ran against newcomer Laurie Nelson, Republican, who received 38.45 percent of the county’s votes for a total of 7,233.
“Basically all I just want to say is thanks to all my supporters, my family, my friends, and too bad we couldn’t get the votes to pull it off,” Nelson said. “But without their help I wouldn’t have done as well. I just want to thank everyone who helped me.”
Parrott’s first term as auditor began in 1994. During his next four years in office, he would like to see some changes, including improving how voters are checked in during elections and improving the supervisor’s budget.
“The auditor’s role in the budgeting process is to prepare the budget for the supervisors and we give them advice,” he said. “A major goal will be to try to maintain services but keep property taxes steady at the best, and hopefully we can reduce them.”
for county supervisor
In the closest county race of Election Day, Democrat Denny Stevenson was re-elected as county supervisor. With 10,307 total votes at 54.48 percent of all votes countywide, he beat out Republican Doug Cupples, who mustered up a respectable 8,587 votes for a total of 45.39 percent.
Before absentee ballots were counted, it looked as if Cupples — who had pulled ahead by 403 votes — could be the winner. However, the winner flip-flopped when Stevenson gathered 5,093 absentee votes compared to Cupples’ 2,970, giving the current supervisor the edge he needed to stay on the board.
Kelley, Sinclair, Heartsill elected
Following the 2012 redistricting of Iowa’s House and Senate districts, three seats were up for grabs in Tuesday’s election for voters in Jasper County. Both State House positions in the recently-created Districts 28 and 29, in addition to the newly-created Senate District 14, were all on the line as voters headed to the polls Tuesday.
Democrat Dan Kelley was elected to his second term in the Iowa Congress in House District 29 over Republican Gabe Swersie with 9,518 votes to Swersie’s 5,920.
Kelley, who grew up in and still resides in Newton, has served on the Newton Housing and Development Corporation Board and the Newton Board of REALTORS, among other local coalitions. He most recently served as ranking member on the House Administration and Regulation Budget Subcommittee as a representative in the former Iowa District 41, prior to this year’s redistricting.
Kelley could not be reached for comment at time of press.
Swersie, a small business owner who grew up in Newton, served six years of active duty in the U.S. Navy before pursuing the District 29 seat.
Swersie could not be reached for comment at time of press.
The State Representative race for District 28 found Republican Greg Heartsill victorious over Democrat Megan Suhr with 8,186 votes to Suhr’s 6,543.
Heartsill, who is originally from Salem, is a member of National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association and Farm Bureau and has served on the Central Committee of the Marion County Republicans for several years.
“I’m humbled and honored by the voters of House District 28. I’m truly honored by the election and grateful for this opportunity. This is something I’ve felt compelled to do not only for my future, but for the future of Iowa and my children’s future, so I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to serve the state in this capacity. It’s been an enormous effort and we’ve had so many dedicated volunteers who have donated time to this campaign, so this victory really belongs to them,” Heartsill said.
Suhr resides in Knoxville and works at the Iowa State Capitol as the consumer advocate for a grassroots organization. Suhr could not be reached for comment at press time.
Republican Amy Sinclair won Iowa’s State Senate seat in District 14 with 13,776 votes to Dick Schrad’s 9,304, accounting for 59.7 percent and 40 percent of the vote, respectively.
Sinclair has served two terms on the Wayne County Board of Supervisors and lives on a farm near Allerton with her family. She has also served in leadership positions for the South Central Iowa Community Action Agency and Wayne County Farm Bureau, among other committees.
“We’re pretty excited about the results coming in last night, it was a good solid victory which really speaks to the message I had out there promoting building the economy through agriculture ... and keeping government as local as we can, so I’m happy to move forward and serve the voters of District 14,” Sinclair said.
Schrad, of Knoxville, has served as the Knoxville City Manager as well as the Economic Development Director for Preston, Iowa.
“It’s been a great experience and I’ve met a lot of folks. Even though I didn’t win, I have a deeper understanding of issues facing voters and I’ll continue to stay involved in efforts to make their lives better. I hope these voters are well-represented in Des Moines and would like to thank the hundreds of supporters that worked for this campaign and the thousands that came out to vote for me,” Schrad said.