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December 28th, 2010

Five Vie for Republican Nomination in Senate District 35

Larry Noble was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2006.  He won that race by 1274 votes.  In doing so, he became the lone member of the Republican freshman class in the Senate that year.  Iowa Democrats didn’t challenge Noble in his 2010 re-election campaign, even if they had it is likely that Noble would have been easily elected.

Earlier this month, Governor-Elect Terry Branstad selected Noble to be the commissioner the Department of Public Safety.    Noble is well qualified for his new position, but in selecting Noble, Branstad also created a vacancy in the State Senate, necessitating a special election in Senate District 35.

Nobel’s 2010 campaign was a sleepy one, but the campaign to be his replacement looks like it’s going to be a barnburner.  Currently there are five individuals actively seeking the Republican nomination.  The slate of candidates is as diverse as it is large.

Here is a snap shot of the candidates.

Jim Gocke
Attorney at Block, Lamberti, Gocke & Ahlman, P.C. in Ankeny
Home: Bondurant
Age: 56

Note: One of Gocke’s law partners is Jeff Lamberti.  Lamberti held the Senate Seat until he ran for Congress in 2006.

Matt DeVries
Electrical Engineer
Home: Ankeny
Age: 32

Note: DeVries is an active member of the Campaign for Liberty. has been told that the four Campaign for Liberty members who serve on the Republican Party State Central Committee are actively supporting DeVries.

Kevin Koester:

Director of Community Education for Ankeny Community Schools
Current State Representative
Home: Ankeny
Age: 56

Note:  If Koester is the Republican nominee and wins election to the State Senate, a special election would be needed to fill his seat in the Iowa House.

Kent Kramer

Financial Planner at the Foster Group
Former State Representative
Home: Johnston
Age: 48

Note: Kramer served one term in the Iowa House from 2002 to 2004.  He represented House District 69, which is currently being represented by Erik Helland.  Kramer is also the son of Mary Kramer, the former President of the Iowa Senate and U.S. Ambassador to Barbados.

Jack Whitver

Business Owner, Acceleration Iowa
Second Year Drake Law Student
Iowa Barnstormers Assistant Coach
Home: Ankeny
Age: 30

Note: Whitver and his wife just had their first child last week.

The special nominating committee will convene on December 30th.  The special election will be held on January 18th.  Just 42 Republican delegates will decide the nominee.  With such a small group of electors, it is impossible to handicap the race.


The likely Democrat nominee is Matt Pfaltzgraf, who Koester beat in his 2008 State House campaign

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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