Special Election for HD 22 Shaping Up in Pott County

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY-The passing of ten year lawmaker, Greg Forristall created the need for a special election. Governor Branstad has set the date for June 27th.

Special elections do not have primaries. Instead, delegates elected during the caucuses host a convention to ballot qualify candidates. Democrats have taken a pass on the rural Pott district recently where nearly half the registered voters are Republicans and Independents outnumber Democrats by 3/2.

Despite the long odds, Democrats are likely to put up a candidate in the low turnout, off-cycle election where an aggressive voter turnout program can catch lightning. The death of Senator Joe Seng created two special elections as a state house Rep won and vacated his own seat around the turn of the year.  Odds strongly favored Democrats in both races and they spared no expense dolling out dollars for radio, mail, and bussing volunteers from Des Moines to the Quad City district. High profile Democrats took turns canvassing neighborhoods.

With a 9 seat deficit in the state house and limited opportunities to show that Democrats matter after 2016 they cannot afford not to play hard.

Greg Forristall’s widow, Carol, intends to run for the seat. She’s a retired teacher and went to Des Moines with her husband and served as his legislative assistant. Since they worked as a team for the district she’s well versed in Des Moines procedures and very acquainted with the constituencies.

Longtime political activist, Naomi Corrie, was also getting pushed to seek the seat, however, Carol’s interest may dial that back. Naomi has been behind the scenes creating political rising stars like Matt Schulz in his accession from City Council to Secretary of State, Dan Dawson’s triumph over “Governor” Gronstal, and been a Council Bluffs organizer for Senator Ernst and Lt. Gov Reynolds.

Naomi hadn’t speculated any interest or intent in running for state house but her well-known leadership and hard work electing conservatives prompted people to ask if she would consider serving Iowans in a different way.

Pottawattamie County GOP Chair, Jeff Jorgensen, posted on Facebook that their executive committee will meet to plan a convention date. He is suggesting May 30th at Treynor Community Center in Treynor east of Council Bluffs. The State Party Chair seeks input from the local party and offically sets the date. The Republican selected at that convention should not take anything for granted but should be heavily favored to win.


Bryan Jack Holder, a liberty activist who has challenged David Young for congress twice as a Libertarian also plans to run. Holder ran against Forristall in the Republican primary in 2016 and received about 20% of the vote. The Libertarian Party’s success on the 2016 Iowa ballot with Gary Johnson earned full-party status for the Yellow Porcupine. However, they were not an official party ahead of the election so they did not elect delegates. Holder says they are working with the Secretary of State on quorum rules so they can hold a convention where he is asking to be named as the Libertarian Candidate.

Registration totals for May in HD 22 on the Secretary of States Website show 4,682 Active Democrats, 10,428 Republicans, 95 Libertarians, and 6,921 No Party Voters.


***Update***Naomi Corrie has stated she does not plan to run but looks forward to helping the Republixan nominee in the race.  She said “I appreciate the ask by several folks, my time is not now, but I try to offer a level head and respect.”


John Thompson of Jefferson is a graduate of West Point and Harvard. He serves on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee and is a candidate for State Treasurer.