Democrats have a strong showing in Linn County, but Republican Louie Zumbach wins a seat on the Board of Supervisors

View of downtown Cedar Rapids — Jason Smith/Little Village

Linn County set a new voter turnout record in Tuesday’s election with 79 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller tweeted on Wednesday.

Democratic candidates did better in Linn than they did statewide, but Republicans also made an important gain with Louie Zumbach being elected to fill the District 3 seat on the Linn County Board of Supervisors.

Zumbach will be the first Republican to serve as a supervisor since the number of board members was reduced to three in 2018. Zumbach defeated Democrat John Stuelke, a member of the Central City City Council and former chief deputy of the Linn County Sherriff’s Office, for the seat that became open after Supervisor Brent Oleson announced in August he would not run for reelection. Zumbach won the seat by more than 2,000 votes.

District 3 covers Marion, Ely, Lisbon, Mount Vernon, Springville, Bertram, Waubeek, Whittier, Prairieburg, Coggon, Central City, Alburnett, Center Point, Walker, Troy Mills, Fairfax and Walford as well as most of the unincorporated rural area of Linn County.

Zumbach lives in Coggan, where he is a small business owner and farmer. He served two terms in the Iowa House representing District 95, which covers much of rural Linn County and part of Buchanan County, but announced earlier this year he would not run for reelection.

“After surviving two terms in the legislature, I realized that many of the issues that I cared about were ones that were most affected by local government, not the state legislature,” Zumbach explained in response to a candidate questionnaire from the Gazette.

In his answers, Zumbach said he was motivated to run for the Board of Supervisors because he believed “our Supervisors aren’t doing a good job of listening to County residents on important issues like mental health, road maintenance and structure of government issues, among other issues.”

“I’d like to bring a voice back to our county residents,” he added.

Zumbach also cited a desire to cut the salaries of Linn County Supervisors as a reason for running.

At the federal level, Democrats did better in Linn County than they did in most Iowa counties.

Democrat Theresa Greenfield carried Linn with 54.7 percent of the vote, but incumbent Republican Sen. Joni Ernst won reelection with 51.8 percent statewide.

Republican Ashley Hinson, who has represented Marion in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2017 and was familiar to voters beyond her legislative district because she is a former KCRG-TV reporter and anchor, defeated first-time Rep. Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. Hinson won 17 of the 1st District’s 20 counties, and garnered 51.3 percent of the vote in the district.


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Finkenauer did win the district’s three most populous counties, Black Hawk, Dubuque and Linn. She won 55.2 percent of the vote in Linn, slightly more than her margin of victory in Dubuque (55.1 percent) and substantially more than she won in Dubuque (50.2 percent).

In a video posted on Facebook slightly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Hinson said that as a member of Congress, she would make herself accessible to all her constituents, whether or not they voted for her.

“The conservative movement is alive and well here in Iowa,” Hinson said in her video. She said her first priorities in Congress would include lowering taxes on “hardworking Iowa families” and making the federal tax cuts passed in 2017 permanent.

Those tax cuts, which President Trump frequently hails as one of his major accomplishments, were heavily tilted towards high-income individuals and large corporations.

President Trump won Iowa with 53.2 percent of the vote, according to unofficial totals, but he did not carry Linn County. Joe Biden won Linn, garnering 55.8 of the vote, according to the unofficial totals. That was an substantial increase from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 showing in Linn, when she won 50.3 percent of the vote.

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