Convention to Decide 6-way GOP House Primary Race

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A six-way Republican primary for an Iowa House seat representing part of Ankeny remained unsettled Monday after a review determined none of the candidates had received the required 35 percent of the vote to win.

The Iowa Secretary of State's office said its canvass, or review of the votes, in House District 37 showed the biggest vote-getter was Jim Robidoux, who ended up just 18 votes short of the 732 needed to get to 35 percent.

That means the primary will be decided by 22 Republican central committee members at a special nominating convention. A Republican Party of Iowa spokeswoman said a date hasn't yet been set for the convention.

Robidoux, a Spanish teacher at an Ankeny middle school, leads Matt Devries, an electrical engineer, and John Landon, a farmer and small business owner. Three attorneys — Jeffery Wright, Jacob Mason and Stacey Rogers — were the bottom three.

Robidoux received 714 votes, or 34.16 percent of the 2,090 votes cast in the June 5 primary. DeVries was second with 623 votes, followed by Landon with 366 and Wright with 321. Mason had 35 votes, and Rogers got 30.

The candidates will be allowed to speak at the nominating convention before the central committee votes on their choice to run in the general election in November against Democrat Neal E. Tracy. He had no primary opponent.

Robidoux said he has not recruited support from among the central committee members as other candidates have done. He chose to focus his efforts on winning the primary because he said he believes voters prefer candidates to be chosen by them and not by party insiders.

"I think they want the transparency of the election of the primary and they want their 2,090 votes to mean something, whether they voted for me or one of the other candidates," he said. "It was a free and fair election in which we all worked hard but the results were clear."

He said he's not sure how Ankeny residents will react if someone else wins at the convention.

"I guess that's a question you have to ask the citizens of Ankeny, how they feel about having election results taken away from them," he said. "What's the purpose of having a primary if it's decided by who can get the most people on the central committee?"

The district is a new one, created during last year's redistricting process. As a result of the population expansion in Ankeny, the area was split into two districts. District 37 represents the north part Ankeny, a township northwest of the city and one east of the city.
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