County incumbents, Dietz survive GOP primary election

Joe Webber fills out his primary election ballot June 3 at the West Mott voting precinct inside the Franklin County Courthouse.

Two county-level incumbents and one state senate candidate from Hampton scored victories in their respective races during Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

Franklin County Treasurer Chad Murray, District II Supervisor Jerry Plagge and Iowa Senate candidate Shawn Dietz outpaced their opponents to secure the GOP’s nomination for the November general election. Theirs were the only contested primary races at the local level, as all others were for federal offices and the Republican nomination for governor.

Murray defeated challenger Cindy Dirksen 582-545, while Plagge edged opponent Gary McVicker by three votes, 206-203. Dietz, the former mayor of Hampton, handily beat Allison Republican Tim Junker in Senate District 27, and will now face incumbent Democrat Amanda Ragan in November.

All results are unofficial until they're canvassed next week.

“Well, it’s not quite a blowout,” Plagge joked. “I was a little concerned.”

Tuesday's primary was the second time Plagge had been contested on a primary ballot since being elected 12 years ago. He was happy to get past this part of the re-election process, even if it was by a mere three votes.

The narrow loss was a tough pill to swallow for McVicker. He said he'd probably ask for a recount to ensure the three-vote margin was indeed correct, but he didn't expect any changes.

"Every vote counts," he said. "It would have been a lot easier to lose by 30."

McVicker said it was too early to decide if he'd run as an Independent in the November general election. He said strong voter support would be key to any potential campaign, but that was simply unknown at this point.

"There's always woulda, coulda, shoulda. Like I said, every vote counts," he said.

The District II Supervisor primary wasn't the only dramatic finish at the county level. Incumbent Treasurer Chad Murray held on to defeat Dirksen by 37 votes to ensure his spot on the GOP ballot in November.

“I didn’t know what to expect, honestly,” he said. “I’m ecstatic. I can get back to normal now.”

Dirksen said she was disappointed by the narrow loss but happy she had the opportunity to run.

“I have had the funnest two months meeting new people and talking to people I hadn’t talked to in years,” she said. “I think it’s really about the people.”

Though county-level races went down to the wire, it was a different story for the District 27 primary.

Dietz garnered 61 percent of the vote en route to a convincing victory over Junker. He credited the win to his campaign’s fundraising ability, organizational skills and advertising presence in local media.

“It’s about what I expected,” he said. “I think for not spending very much money, Tim did a phenomenal job by getting 40 percent of the vote. He must have been out there really pounding the pavement.”

Dietz said his campaign worked hard at establishing name recognition in Cerro Cordo County during the past six months. District 27 includes territory in Cerro Gordo, Franklin and Butler counties, and he said he’ll continue to have a strong presence in Cerro Gordo as he stares down his November matchup with Ragan, a three-term state senator from Mason City.

Dietz is planning numerous meet-and-greet sessions throughout District 27 over the next few months.

“I just really want to put myself out there and let the voters be part of this discussion,” he said.

A complete list of unofficial results from Franklin County can be found here.

This article was revised and updated with quotes from Gary McVicker and a link to complete election results at 10:25 a.m., on 6/4/2014.