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June 5th, 2012

Voter Guide: Iowa Senate Primary Elections

There are 10 GOP state senate primary races on the ballot Tuesday. Due to redistricting, senators Jim Hahn and Shawn Hamerlinck were placed in the same district. They vie for the GOP nomination in Senate District 46. Pat Ward, in Senate District 22, is the only other current Republican senator facing a primary challenge. has been following many of these races very closely. Here is a quick breakdown of each race, including the background of the candidates and which prominent organizations or officials have endorsed them:

SD 4 – Jim Black vs. Dennis Guth

Black is a former state senator from Algona who also served on the Kossuth County Board of Supervisors. Guth is a farmer from Klemme who is active in the “Let Us Vote” efforts against gay marriage. The Family Leader endorsed Guth. Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds, and Iowa Right to Life support Black.

SD 6 – Matthew Biede vs. Adam Schweers vs. Mark Segebart

Biede is a sheriff’s deputy in Sac County. Schweers is the mayor of Carroll. Segebart serves on the Crawford County Board of Supervisors. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds endorsed Schweers. So did former state representative Rod Roberts, who used to serve part of the district. Iowa Right to Life supports Segebart.

SD 10 – Jake Chapman vs. Matthew Mardesen

This is an open seat. Chapman is an EMT and director of operations of Midwest Ambulance. Mardesen is a former sheriff’s deputy in Dallas and Boone Counties. He made an unsuccessful bid to become Boone County Sheriff in 2008. Chapman began campaigning a year ago. Mardesen joined the race on the final filing day. Chapman signed a pledge from the Dallas County GOP to support the nominee. Mardesen declined. The NRA endorsed Chapman.

SD 14 – Steven Everly vs. Stephanie Jones vs. Amy Sinclair

This seat is open due to Paul McKinley’s retirement. Everly is a master electrician from Knoxville. Jones, also from Knoxville, is the executive director of the International Alliance Against Child Abuse. Sinclair serves on the Wayne County Board of Supervisors. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds support Sinclair. Iowa Right to Life approves of all three candidates.

SD 22 – Jeff Mullen vs. Pat Ward (I)

This has turned into perhaps the ugliest race in the state. Jeff Mullen is a pastor from Waukee who helped oust three Supreme Court justices in 2010. Ward (R-West Des Moines) has served in the Iowa Senate since winning a special election in 2004. She moved after redistricting pitted her against a Democrat incumbent.

Mullen went on the attack against Ward via radio ads, mailings and a mock newspaper. He vilifies some of the votes Ward has taken on budget bills and gun rights. At least one of Mullen’s attacks twists the truth. He claims Ward voted to strip gun rights from domestic violence victims. In fact, the bill strips gun rights from domestic violence abusers.

Mullen has racked up endorsements from conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Citizens United, Liberty Iowa PAC, the Family Leader and Iowa Right to Life. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds endorsed Ward. So did the NRA.

SD 36 – Jane Jech vs. Larry McKibben

Jech is a substitute teacher, preacher’s wife, and Republican activist. She has run unsuccessfully for the House on two previous occasions. Jech entered the race last year. McKibben, an attorney, is a former three-term senator who stepped down in 2008. He joined this race in January, with encouragement from Governor Branstad. Jech says McKibben had previously told her he would not run. Both candidates live in Marshalltown. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds support McKibben. The Family Leader and Iowa Right to Life back Jech.

SD 42 – Lee Harder vs. Larry Kruse

This is an open seat. There is a three-way Democrat primary to determine their nominee. Harder, of Hillsboro, is an ordained minister. He ran for congress in 2008, losing in the GOP primary. Kruse, of Donnellson, is a Lee County Supervisor and a retired chemical engineer. The NRA endorsed Kruse. Iowa Right to Life approves of both candidates.

SD 46 – Jim Hahn (I) vs. Shawn Hamerlinck (I)

Redistricting placed these two Republican senators in the same district, which covers parts of Muscatine and Scott Counties. Hahn (R-Muscatine) joined the Iowa Senate in 2005. He previously served seven terms in the Iowa House. Hahn works in real estate. Hamerlinck (R-Dixon) is seeking his second term in the Iowa Senate. Prior to that, he served on the Davenport City Council. Hamerlinck is a community college faculty member and adjunct professor. Hahn had $5,934 on hand two weeks ago. Hamerlinck held $12,817 as of last Friday.

SD 48 – Brian Cook vs. Dan Zumbach

This is another open seat, covering all of Delaware County and parts of three others. Cook is a stay-at-home dad who volunteers at his children’s school. Zumbach is a farmer and former West Delaware school board member. The NRA endorsed Zumbach.

SD 50 – John Hulsizer, Jr. vs. William Johnson

This district covers the left-leaning city of Dubuque. Hulsizer is a former marine who made unsuccessful bids for the Iowa House in 2006 and the Iowa Senate in 2008. Johnson is a Navy veteran. He lost in the 2010 congressional primary to Ben Lange. Johnson is also one of the 10 Ron Paul supporters picked for the at-large national delegate slate in May. Liberty Iowa PAC supports Johnson.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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