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October 17th, 2013

Garrett Wins GOP Nomination for SD 13 Special Election

INDIANOLA-Iowa House Rep. Julian Garrett emerged victorious at a nominating convention to choose the Republican candidate to fill the vacant seat in Senate District 13, which covers Warren and Madison counties. The seat became vacant due to the resignation of Kent Sorenson.

Garrett easily outdistanced the other three nominees, winning on the first ballot with more than 2/3 of the vote Immediately after the announcement of his victory, Garrett thanked the assembled delegates and encouraged them to get involved in the campaign to hold on to the senate seat.

“This isn’t the end, this is the beginning,” Rep. Garrett said. “We’re set to go. I would like all of you to join us and I know you will. We’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of door to door canvassing, signs to put up, literature to get out. It’s a big job, but who better to do it than the folks in this room.”

Here is the final vote tally, broken down by precinct:

Julian Garrett-20 1/3

David Keagle-3 1/2

Steve McCoy-3 1/2

Tamara Scott-2 2/3

“Senate Republicans are excited to work with Julian in the Iowa Senate,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, who was in attendance. “Julian understands the issues facing hard-working Iowans. Serving on the House Appropriations Committee, he has a proven record of responsible budgeting and easing his constituents’ tax burdens.”

Here is video of Garrett’s speech to the delegates prior to the vote: live blogged the nominating convention. You can read that below:

Republicans in Senate District 13 hold a nominating convention to name their candidate in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Kent Sorenson. House Rep. Julian Garrett is the only announced candidate on the GOP side. However, several activists have expressed interest in running. We will see who actually gets nominated this evening. is on location at the convention, held at the American Legion hall. Join our live blog to keep updated on all the happenings. Remember to hit ‘REFRESH’ often.

6:45 pm – OK. We are here at the Legion hall. 15 minutes before the convention begins. Lots of well known folks here. State Senator Jake Chapman on hand. I spotted Senator Jack Whitver entering the Indianola Pizza Ranch as I was leaving, so I’m sure he’ll be here soon.

6:47 pm National Committeeman Steve Scheffler and National Committeewoman Tamara Scott are both here. The big question is, will Scott pursue the nomination. We won’t know for sure until the actual nominations take place.

6:49 pm – SCC members Gopal Krishna and Joel Kurtinitis are on hand. I believe Krishna is chairing the convention.

6:50 pm – BTW, the democrats hold their nominating convention on Monday in Martensdale.

6:51 pm – Here’s how the convention works: Basically, the delegates are the county central committee members from Senate District 13. That encompasses Warren and Madison counties. They will determine who is named the GOP nominee. I’m sure each nominee will have the chance to speak to the crowd. They have to be officially nominated by a central committee member. It remains to be seen if the nominator is allowed to address the delegates. Usually they get a minute or two and the candidate is allowed 5-10 minutes.

6:53 pm – Seven minutes until start time. I have not seen Steve McCoy yet, who ran for the Iowa House in 2012 and was mentioned as a possible candidate. We shall see. If he’s not here, I think that increases the likelihood of Tamara Scott being nominated.

6:55 pm – The room is filling in. Warren County GOP Chair Rick Halverson is woking the room. As is Tamara Scott.

6:56 pm – Sen. Jack Whitver has arrived. He must have scarfed down that Pizza Ranch food. I prefer to take my time when eating there. It usually takes three rounds: pizza, then chicken & mashed potatoes, followed by the salad bar. And yes, I’m very full right now.

6:57 pm – Steve McCoy is here. The plot thickens… We know Julian Garrett is running. We don’t know who else, but I’m fairly confident there will be at least one more person nominated.

6:59 pm – Almost game time. Most people are still milling about the room, chatting.

7:00 pm – I guess we’re not going to start on time. Former State Rep. Glen Massie is also on hand. It looks like he is a delegate.

7:02 pm – Folks are starting to settle into their seats, but there’s been no announcement asking them to. It looks like the check-in process is not yet complete, so that’s what we’re waiting for, making sure all the delegates are property credentialed.

7:04 pm – Gopal Krishna now trying to call the meeting to order. We’ll be starting momentarily.

7:05 pm – One more person to be registered and then we’ll get underway. Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix is in the house.

7:06 pm – Meeting is now underway.

7:07 pm – Motion to approve meeting agenda is made, agenda is approved.

7:08 pm – Now election to elect permanent chair. Gopal Krishna is temporary chair. He’s been nominated as permanent chair. No other nominations. Nice and easy. I like it.

7:09 pm – SCC member Joel Kurtinitis is temp, and now permanent secretary for the convention.

7:10 pm – Motion to approve the rules passes.

7:11 pm – Now taking nominations. Bill Larsen nominates Steve McCoy.

7:12 pm – SCC member John Kabitzke nominates David Kagle. Not sure on the name and spelling. Likely from the “liberty” crowd.

7:13 pm – A lady whose name I did not get, I think Susan Vick, nominates Julian Garrett.

7:14 pm – Paul Ferguson nominates Tamara Scott. Our national committeewoman is running for the seat, apparently.

7:15 pm  – Four nominees. Now speaking. Steve McCoy goes first. “I’m mad as hell at our party, that we think we can walk hand in hand with the democrats and sing kumbaya…. This party is in trouble right now. We’re about to become the weak party….

7:16 pm – McCoy: “You can compromise pragmatic, but you cannot compromise principle… I’m not interested in making friends with the democrats …” Says the democrats are not that far away from us on beliefs. Huh?

7:17 pm – McCoy: “The Republican Party as a whole right now has become the democrat party… My goal would be to convert the democrats to become republican… If I can’t convert them, I want to destroy them. They are our enemy… Until we have people stand up for what is right, we’re not going to be a republic anymore.” McCoy done. David Keagle next.

7:18 pm  – Keagle: “I’m pretty much an ordinary person other than a  large family… I work as a manager… Also certified technician at Mercy Hospital… I am not a career politician… This decision was not easy for me. In fact, my wife had to push me off a cliff… I am principled and I do stand up for what I believe in…”

7:19 pm – Keagle now talking about traffic cams, government listening to our phone calls and emails.

7:20 – Keagle: “Julian has done very well in the House, but there’s only one year left in the senate…and I’m not sure we’ve got time to hold another convention and another special election before January 1.”

7:21 pm – Keagle says he’s had people tell him they’ve already made a decision on who they’re going to vote for. He asks them reconsider. “I will be principled and I will be for the people.”

7:22 pm – Rep. Julian Garrett up now. Says he’s been on the Warren County central committee for many years and has spent more time in their shoes, helping candidates, instead of being a candidate.

7:23 pm – Garrett notes that he comes to the central committee meetings, sends out a weekly newsletter and holds townhalls all over his district. “I’m a fiscal and social conservative. I not going to pick one or the other. I’m both…”

7:24 pm – Garrett explaining why he would give up his House seat to seek the senate nomination. Notes that numerous bills they pass in the House are never brought up in the Senate. “If we’re ever going to accomplish anything…we have to take control of the senate… If we lose this seat, that’ll make it much harder in 2014…”

7:25 pm – Garrett: “The differences we have (as Republicans) pale in comparison to the differences we have with the democrats. I don’t think anybody in this room wants to see Mark Davitt as our next state senator…. We’re geared up ready to go. We’ve got organization in place, we’ve got sign locations… We’re ready to go after tonight… Let’s go forward and when Senate District 13 as a I know we can…”

7:27 pm – Tamara Scott up now. She says she can fulfill both roles as national committee woman and state senator.

7:28 pm – Scott: “I ran in 2000 and many of you helped me… ” Says she took on the leader as a “no-name housewife”…. “We’ve been involved in the community… ” Notes she’s lobbied at the state and national levels.

7:29 pm – Scott notes she worked with Judiciary Chair Gene Fraise, a democrat, to tighten rules on human trafficking and get that bill passed through the legislature.  She’s now talking about being involved in the successful justice ouster in 2010, and fought against the casino in Warren County this year.

7:30 pm – Scott says she’s hopeful everyone in the room will come together regardless of who is elected tonight.

7:31 pm – Ballots now about to be distributed. There are 30 precincts. Majority is required, so the winner has to secure at least 15 precincts.

7:32 pm – RPI Chairman A.J. Spiker is here. Must be an important event. I believe Co-Chair David Fischer is also on hand.

7:34 pm – The voting is going to take a few minutes. It’s hot in this room. Nothing to drink except hot coffee. I’m using my pocket U.S. Constitution as a fan. Yes, I know, it’s shocking that the big TIR rino carries a pocket Constitution.

7:36 pm – This first vote will be very interesting. With the majority requirement, it’s possible Scott, Keagle and McCoy could split their votes enough that Garrett takes it. Then again, we could go through a few different ballots.. We shall see…

7:38 pm – There’s only one other media person in attendance, a reporter with the local Indianola paper. Not surprising, but telling…

7:39 pm – Krishna is recognizing the luminaries in attendance. Rick Halverson, Warren County GOP chair, Joe Van Ginkel, Madison GOP chair, Scheffler, Spiker, Sen. Whitver, Senator Charles Schneider, Sen. Jake Chapman, Ed Failor.. And now Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix is addressing the delegates.

7:41 pm – Dix praises all the nominees. “Part of a young, energetic Senate Republican Caucus… They are young, ambitious, stand on ideals, principles… The only problem is we’re not getting heard in the Iowa Senate like we should. We’re in a two vote disadvantage, three vote disadvantage if we don’t hold this seat.”

7:43 pm – Dix discussing his home life as a farmer and his young family. Now giving a personal family story…

7:44 pm – While Dix is giving this story, I think it’s important to look back at Republican Party of Iowa platform plank 24:8. “We reaffirm that the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Iowa and its officers should remain neutral in all contested primaries.” Tonight, we have our RNC National Committeewoman Tamara Scott running for this contested seat, and we have SCC member John Kabitzke nominate one of the other candidates. That’s not remaining neutral.

7:48 pm – Dix is wrapping up now. Well received speech. RPI Chairman A.J. Spiker now addressing the delegates. Talks about being involved in the Story County GOP for many years before becoming chairman.

7:49 pm – Spiker notes that two of the state senators on hand tonight, Sen. Whitver and Sen. Schneider came out of nominating conventions.

7:50 pm -“Nobody knows better what works best for the party than you folks.” Hmm…. Perhaps the chairman just listen to the county parties a little more then. Just sayin’

7:50 pm – Julian Garrett WINS!

7:51 pm – That didn’t take long. Rep. Garrett won overwhelmingly on the first ballot. As I foretold at 7:36, I think the other three candidates split the ballot.

7:52 pm – Congrats to Julian Garrett, the Republican nominee for the Senate District 13 special election. That will take place November 19. This district leans Republicans. I know the Senate Republican Caucus is ready to get the campaign rolling immediately.

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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