State Rep. Mark Costello (R-Imogene) easily cruised to a special election victory Tuesday, Dec. 30, in Senate District 12 in southwest Iowa.
“Thanks to everyone in Senate District 12 who helped to secure this nice win,” he told supporters shortly after the results were announced. “I’m looking forward to moving across the rotunda to the Senate for the next two years.”
Costello received 3,068 votes (74.4 percent) to 924 (22.4 percent) for Steven Adams, the Democratic nominee. Adams is a community development specialist with Montgomery County ISU Extension in Red Oak.
Don Brantz, the Libertarian nominee, received 131 votes (3.2 percent). Two weeks before the special election, the former Mills County supervisor was booked in Nebraska for an alleged sexual assault that was reported in October.
Senate District 12 comprises much of southwest Iowa, and includes all of Montgomery, Mills, Fremont, Page, Taylor, and Ringgold counties. The district was previously represented by U.S. Sen.-elect Joni Ernst, who was elected to her new office in November.
Costello currently represents Iowa House District 23, which comprises the northwestern half of Senate District 12 and includes Fremont and Mills counties, as well as the northern two-thirds of Montgomery County. He will resign that seat before he is sworn in to his new office.
Once his resignation is received, Gov. Terry Branstad will announce a date for a special election to fill the vacancy. Each party will then hold nominating conventions to select their candidates for the special election ballot.
Clarinda farmer Seth Watkins, who finished second in the Senate District 12 GOP special election nominating convention on Dec. 11, resides in House District 24 and would not be eligible to run for Costello’s seat. Red Oak businesswoman and Republican activist Margaret Stoldorf came in third.
Other House District 23 Republicans who ran for the Senate District 12 nomination include Red Oak businesswoman Charla Schmid, Glenwood area farmer David Sieck, and Fremont County supervisor Cara Morgan. None of those candidates have indicated whether or not they were interested in the open seat.
Costello had just won re-election to House District 23 in November; he was unopposed on the ballot. Adams has not yet indicated if he will seek to run again for Costello’s open seat in the upcoming special election.