Tossed Under The Tractor Tire
One writers thoughts about the recent Mahaska County Supervisor race, and just my own personal opinion.
Oskaloosa, Iowa – The contest to become Mahaska County Supervisor became something that most contests have not – angry.
Why has this contest turned so angry? Doland was announced as the winner, and should come as no surprise in a county that has such a huge voting advantage for any Republican candidate. But then, why was this election so close, with no clear winner immediately available?
The problem comes from a single item being the center of attention, generating an us versus them mentality. This type of election tactic has been used over and over again to win many campaigns, but it is a rare thing to see in such a small time, small town election. A rare thing to see in a small town where a neighbor knows their neighbor, and a friendly wave is the norm.
Scare tactics can help a candidate, and can also hurt a group of people in the process, and those folks near Leighton could end up as the biggest losers of all from this election.
The tactic may have won a battle, but at what cost? Some local Republicans tossed party affiliation out the window and openly supported a candidate of an opposing party. You then add in the endorsement of State Senator Ken Rozenboom, who openly endorsed Democrat Tom Rielly at Eggs and Issues. Then add fellow Republicans, Oskaloosa School Board member Nik Rule and Oskaloosa City Council member Doug Yates, both of whom also crossed party lines and supported Rielly with letters of endorsement.
Rozenboom had been endorsed at one point by Doland, and is known for his stance on social issues. Rozenboom had made an appearance, at least once, with Vander Plaats during the ‘No Wiggins’ campaign. His values seemed to be similar to Dolands, so why the change?
Rozenboom’s decision to endorse Rielly happened because, according to Rozenboom, “Even more unfortunate is the misinformation and false rumors that are circulating about this project.[airport]”
So with the endorsement from Rozenbom, many Republicans were left scratching their heads and wondering what was really going on. Then the gloves really came off, and what type of campaign this really was became very apparent.
In another nearly unprecedented move, the citizens of Mahaska County had their phones ringing off the hook in a coordinated effort via the much loathed robocaller.
Bob Vander Plaats had endorsed Doland, and followed that up with a robocall in support of Doland. Nearly unheard of is Vander Plaats being involved in any race of this size.
His robocall was then followed up by Iowa Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker, and funded by the Republican Party of Iowa.
This begins a whole new set of questions. Why would the Republican Party of Iowa get involved in a county supervisor race? What, if any, ethical lines were crossed with that, considering that Doland sits on the RPI’s Central Committee representing this very district and is Secretary for the RPI.
Will the RPI then start funding each Republican who seeks a seat as a supervisor in other Iowa counties? How will they fund such candidates when the amount of registered Republicans in the state continues to decline, as well as the amount of funds.
The decline in funding should be of no surprise, as they are willing to toss a large financial supporter under the proverbial bus, or in this case, tractor tire, for a county supervisor seat.
They crucified the area businesses in this race, along with those who run those companies. Those same companies that provide jobs for thousands of the nearly 22 thousand residents of the county, and pay millions of dollars in taxes to support our communities, not including their many generous donations to area projects and charities.
Those stores along A Avenue and on the square depend upon those companies. Our friends and neighbors depend upon those jobs. Without them, we would have little to grow our communities.
During the debate between Rielly and Doland, Doland said, “I want people to know and I believe I’ve been painted as the anti-growth candidate here. I’m not against growth. I’m not against growth in private industry. If we have somebody who wants an airport, who needs an airport, it’s a private business, I believe. I’m not opposed to him going and buying land with his own money.”
My question for you then Mr. Doland would be: Should we have the farmers pay for all of the roads that serve their farms? Farms are a business as well, just like those evil family corporations you so eagerly threw under the tractor tires. Most of us don’t travel those roads, but yet we are required, by the spending of our tax dollars, to help build and maintain them. Something, by the way, I have no problem with paying, as that is part of our economy in this area.
We will see if an even larger rift begins to form within the Republican Party in Mahaska County, and its citizens as a whole after this election. Will we resemble the state’s Republican Party – divided and dysfunctional?
Here is to hoping that all can end up coming back together to serve the people of the entire county.
Here is a portion of the robocall from A.J.Spiker supporting Doland – paid for by RPI