By Joe Benedict
MVM News Network
It is going to be a nail biter Tuesday evening to see whether President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden remain in office or if former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney wins the presidency along with Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan taking the VP slot.
That is the largest national race. But for those who haven’t gotten around to voting early, which may be few because of the push by both parties to cast early ballots this year, here are some of the other races from national on down to consider before going to the polls.
Iowa now has only four districts for the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2010 census and redistricting.
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, the Democratic incumbent, moved closer to Iowa City from near Cedar Rapids to continue to represent the 2nd District.
He faces Republican challenger John Archer, a lawyer for John Deere & Company.
There’s no U.S. Senate race this year.
Statewide candidates for the 42nd District in the Iowa Senate, which includes Lee County, Henry County and parts of Washington and Jefferson counties, has a contest with the retirement of longtime state Sen. Gene Fraise.
The Democrats would like to keep this seat and hold on to their slim majority in the state Senate, but the GOP has put up a candidate with name recognition in strongly Democratic Lee County – Larry Kruse of Houghton. Kruse has served the past eight years on the Lee County Board of Supervisors.
Rich Taylor from strongly Republican Henry County was chosen in the Democratic primary. Taylor does have Lee County connections as well, working at the Iowa State Penitentiary for many years.
In the Iowa House race, Lee County is divided between two districts.
District 84 covers several townships in the northwestern part of Lee County.
Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant, who has represented this area for many years, is running unopposed.
The southern half of Lee County has been represented by Democrat Jerry Kearns of Keokuk the past four years. He is running against Jim Steffen of Argyle who also works at the Iowa State Penitentiary and is a member of the Iowa National Guard.
In Lee County, there is an open seat on board of supervisors from District 1 as Kruse runs for the state Senate.
Trying to get that seat is Ron Fedler, former mayor of West Point, and Rick Carter, former director of the County Maintenance Department. Fedler and Carter are both Democrats, but Carter was placed on the ballot by petition while Fedler won the primary without opposition.
Supervisor Janet Fife-LaFrenz lost in the primary to Matt Pflug. However, she is running as a write-in candidate this time against Matt Pflug, the winner of the Democratic primary, and Republican Mike O’Connor, a Keokuk City Council member, for the supervisor position from District 5, which includes the north side of Keokuk.
Two other candidates are running unopposed in the county.
Denise Fraise is running for county auditor and Jim ‘Spike’ Sholl is unopposed for sheriff.
Although Bob VanDer Plaats has not been as visible in this part of the state as he was during the last national election, there also is a judicial retention question that has gotten some attention this year.
Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins was part of the court that struck down the law saying marriage was between a man and a woman as unconstitutional, giving same-sex couples the right to marry in Iowa. Conservatives were successful in removing three justices who made that unanimous decision from the bench in the last election cycle. On Tuesday, voters will decide whether Wiggins remains on the state’s highest court.