Republicans have not controlled the Polk County Board of Supervisors for over 50 years. They currently hold two of the five seats and don’t have anyone challenging the three Democrats who are seeking re-election this fall. TheIowaRepublican.com has learned that will change when Republicans nominate Dave Funk to run in District Three at a July 27th nominating committee meeting.
The seat Funk is seeking is currently held by Tom Hockensmith a former union boss who was also a policy advisor for Tom Vilsack before being elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2002. Funk would provide an excellent alternative to voters in the third supervisor district in Polk County. He would bring a rural perspective to the Board. He would also bring knowledge of working with labor unions and local governments. Funk is a reserve police officer with the Pleasant Hill Police Department.
Funk’s candidacy is interesting because he will be aided by his former congressional opponent, Brad Zaun, who dominated his opponents in almost every precinct in Polk County. Zaun’s strength in Polk County should help Funk and other Republicans on the ballot. While Zaun dominated most of Polk County, Funk was very competitive with Zaun in the eastern part of the county, which is where the third supervisor district is located.
Funk’s presence on the ballot should also help Zaun in those eastern Polk County districts, where Funk was the strongest in the congressional primary. Funk won 16 of the 18 Polk County precincts that Zaun didn’t win, most of them located in the district Funk seeks to represent this fall. Funk’s presence on the general election ballot could also help a couple down ballot legislative races, especially Joe Priillo, who is running for the State Senate in District 21 against Dennis Black.
Funk’s candidacy also will also attract the support of numerous Tea Party activists who voted for him in the June 8th primary. The Tea Party having one of their own on the ballot this November gives Funk a tremendous volunteer base that most other supervisor candidates would never have.
Out of anyone that Polk County Republicans could find to run against Hockensmith, Funk is by far their best option. Running for supervisor immediately following his bid for the congress provides Funk with a number of advantages that a traditional candidate running against an incumbent wouldn’t have. First, Funk’s participation in the seven-way congressional primary helped increase his name I.D. in the district. Funk’s previous campaign also allowed him to sharpen his skills as a candidate, create a volunteer base, and identify supporters.
While Funk had a difficult time raising the necessary financial resources for his congressional campaign, he might find more success in that department by running for supervision. TheIowaRepublican.com was told that a number of influential donors are already interested in supporting the effort to elect Funk to the Board of Supervisors. Running for supervisors will not require the same amount of money that a congressional campaign costs, but running for a countywide office will still require significant resources.
Funk’s decision to run for supervisor is politically shrewd. Most candidates who are unsuccessful in their first attempt at running for office need some time to recoup from their loss. Being able to move on so quickly following the June 8th primary allows Funk to turn his defeat into something positive for himself and Polk County Republicans. If Funk is successful, his position as a supervisor would give him a great platform to run for higher office if he ever chooses to do so.
If elected, Funk would join Republicans Robert Brownell and E.J. Giovanetti, giving Republicans a three to two advantage on the Polk County Board of Supervisors.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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