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PRIMARY ELECTION 2024: Supervisor race too close to call

Incumbents dominate in Cherokee County

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The unofficial results from Tuesday night’s primary election are in.

The hotly contested seats for county supervisor will likely be filled by Shane Bellefy, a Cherokee Republican, and a candidate who will be named later.

Bellefy defeated challengers Craig Schmidt and Tim Wych, both Cherokee Republicans, by a comfortable margin. Bellefy notched 782 votes, or 46% of the Republican vote in the district five primary election.

He was followed by Craig Schmidt with 551 votes, or 32% of the primary vote. Tim Wych received 236 votes, or 14%, and Matt Aguirre received 117 votes, or 7%.

Bellefy will square off with Cherokee Democrat Stephanie Zarr, who notched 79 votes in the Democratic supervisor primary. The two candidates are vying for district five, or the northwest corner of the City of Cherokee.

“It was a great night for Cherokee County, with still more results to be determined from the other supervisors. I want to thank my opponents on a hard-fought campaign and also the voters who put their trust in me,” Bellefy said in a statement to the Chronicle Times. “It’s now time to focus on the November general election against my Democrat opponent, and I’m looking forward to this challenge and making sure our county is best positioned for that more competitive tomorrow.”

The race for district one, which contains northern Cherokee County with Afton and Cherokee townships, is too close to call. Auditor Kris Glienke declined to declare a nominee for the seat. She said the results will be forwarded to the county political parties. A winner will be declared after the results are submitted. 

Initial results for district one supervisor indicate that Republican Rick Mongan was the top recipient. Mongan, R-Cherokee, received 456 votes, or 26.7% of the overall tally.  Ray E. Mullins II, a Larrabee Republican, notched 450 votes, or 26.3% of the tally. Chad Brown, R-Cherokee, received 421 votes, or 24.6% of the vote. Phil Stowater, R- Cherokee, received 381 votes, or 22.3% of the voters.

Glienke said the results will be canvassed by the board of supervisors next Tuesday. She declined comment on the process by which a Republican nominee for district one would be selected.

Iowa Code states that if no candidate receives at least 35% of the votes cast by their party, the primary is inconclusive. A request for information from the Secretary of State’s office regarding the process moving forward was not returned prior to press deadline.

INCUMBENTS DOMINATED the remainder of contested races in Cherokee County.

Sheriff Derek Scott, R-Cherokee, beat challenger Zachary Smith, R-Cherokee. The incumbent sheriff notched 1,457 votes; the challenger  316 votes, or a margin of 82% to 18%.

“I am honored to continue to serve the citizens of Cherokee County. I am humbled by everyone’s support,” Scott told The Chronicle Times after Tuesday night’s victory in the Cherokee Republican primaries.

Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, bested challenger Kevin Virgil by a 20-point margin. The Associated Press called the race on Tuesday night, with Feenstra garnering 60% of the vote to Virgil’s 40%. In Cherokee County, Feenstra notched 62% to Virgil’s 38%.

Feenstra is seeking a third term and will oppose Democrat Ryan Melton on the ballot this November. Melton was running unopposed.

“Tonight, Iowans sent a clear message that they want a conservative voice in Congress who delivers results for our families, farmers, businesses, and our rural communities," Feenstra said in a statement. “I’m humbled by the strong support for our campaign and will continue to deliver for Iowa and our communities.”

Cherokee Republican Bryan Petersen notched district two; Auditor Kris Glienke, R-Aurelia, earned another term; and Treasurer Jodi Mongan, R-Cherokee, earned her first elected term in county office. Mongan succeeded Hedgie Brandt, who retired from her post last year.

Le Mars Republican Travis Sitzmann defeated challenger Noah Wieseler, R-Sioux City, for the open District 13 House seat that stretches into Cherokee County. Sitzmann came out ahead with over 62% of the vote, or a margin of 1,538 to 910. In Cherokee County, Sitzmann notched 74% of the the votes to Wieseler’s 26%.

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