Local Dems and GOP weigh-in on election results

The dust has started to settle on the 2018 mid-term elections.

What was predicted by some to have been a “blue wave” — meaning many Democrats being elected — became a “purple puddle” — that is, a mix of Democrats and Republicans being elected or re-elected.

Locally, comments on Tuesday night’s results ranged from grateful to reflective to sublime.

Democrat Thomas Thurston came in third place behind winners David Thompson and Bill Patten in the race for two open county supervisor seats. The Republican incumbents garnered 7,295 and 6,875 respectively to Thurston’s 6,114.

Democrat Sue Blaisdell came in fourth with 5,323. All results are unofficial until votes are canvassed.

It was Thurston’s first attempt at political office.

“I learned a lot through the process,” Thurston said. “It has given me a great deal of respect for our representatives who take time away from friends, family and life to represent us. I am thankful to my wife (Kelli Thurston) who was a huge source of support for me, and my campaign supervisor Tom Swartz, who worked tirelessly to help me.”

Thurston said he would keep the door open for future opportunities in politics.

“I would like to remind myself of a quote from Wendell Phillips: What is defeat … it is nothing but education. Nothing but the first step to something better.”

Swartz, chair of the Marshall County Democrats, lauded Thurston. He is also a former Marshall County Supervisor.

“I was proud of Thurston and the campaign he conducted,” Swartz said. “I believe he will have a role to play in the future, whatever that may be, and he will be a good representative.”

State Rep. Mark Smith won his tenth, two-year term beating challenger James Perez of Marshalltown. Smith earned 5,865 votes to Perez’ 4,170.

“I am very honored to represent the people of Marshall County,” Smith said. “And I am looking forward to joining them on important issues. I want to offer a heartfelt thanks to all of the people who voted for me.”

Smith said state-wide results were a “mixed bag” for his party. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds won the coveted governor’s race. She was joined by Republicans who kept control of the Iowa House and Iowa Senate.

Joining Reynolds in the state office are Mike Naig as Secretary of Agriculture and Paul Pate as Secretary of State.

“I am pleased we shifted from one Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives to three Democrats and one Republican.”

Democrats Abby Finkenauer won in the first congressional district and Cindy Axne won in the third congressional district. They join Democrat Dave Loebsack in the second congressional district and Republican Steve King in the fourth congressional district.

Smith said he was not surprised with the record turnout statewide.

“We live in a polarizing time in America,” he said. “Both parties worked hard to get out the vote.”

Reed Riskedahl, a retired businessman and Republican activist, congratulated candidates from both parties.

“All of the candidates worked hard and put themselves out in the public eye … they are to be commended,” he said. “I was pleased with the outcome of a number of races and disappointed in others. We kept control of the governor’s office, and some statehouse posts, but lost out on other opportunities.

“Perhaps the results will fire us up for the presidential election in 2020.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at

641-753-6611 or

mdonahey@timesrepublican.com