Field of candidates widens in special election following supervisor's death

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -- It's only been three days since election night, but in Johnson County, another is right around the corner.

The county will be holding a special election next month to fill a vacancy on the board of supervisors. It opened up when Supervisor Kurt Friese died unexpectedly last month.

The Johnson County medical examiner has not yet released the cause of death.

There are two years remaining in Friese’s term and people interested in running are now scrambling to mount effective campaigns before the election.

Royceann Porter, a community leader in Iowa City, officially announced she was vying for the spot, Friday evening. If elected, Porter would become the first African American to hold a Johnson County county-wide office. That opportunity is part of why she wanted to run in the first place.

"Much of the work the Johnson County Board of Supervisors provides overlaps with the work I've done in the community for almost three decades here in Iowa City," Porter said. "I represent the people and we just need somebody on that represents people who look like me."

Porter will have plenty of competition. The race for the spot is already taking on a decent field of candidates only a day after the special election was announced.

Pat Harney, a former supervisor, has shown interest in coming back to the board. Republican Phil Hemingway, has as well, according to a report by KCJJ.

There was even interest from people like Anna Buss, who spoke during the meeting to decide if the election was needed in the first place. It was also during that meeting friends of Friese's family pushed for current Supervisor Mike Carberry to take the seat saying Friese and Carberry were aligned in their opinions.

Carberry's term is up at the end of this year after failing to win a primary battle. If the Democrat, and friend of Friese, wants to run as a member of the party, he'll have to face at least Harney and Porter in a county convention battle.

At this point, Carberry says he's on the fence. He expected to make a decision after discussing the option with his family over the weekend.

"I have not made up my mind," Carberry said. "I anticipate that because of the short time frame I'll need to make up my mind lickety-split."

The filing deadline for candidates is 5:00 p.m., November 26. The special election will be held December 18th.