Four more years for ObamaRomney wins Washington County presidential race
While 44th U.S. President Barack Obama narrowly lost the vote in Washington County to challenger Mitt Romney, he was declared the victor in the presidential race Tuesday night before Washington County election officials had finished counting all the ballots.
Even though Republicans outnumber Democrats three-to-two in Washington County, Obama received 5,081 votes to Republican candidate Romney’s 5,540. Nationwide, Obama received 55 million votes, or 49.8 percent of the popular vote, while Romney received 54.5 million votes, or 48.6 percent. Obama carried the state of Iowa.
“While our road has been hard, though our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of American, the best is yet to come,” Obama said to a crowd of thousands of cheering supporters in his hometown of Chicago, Ill. Tuesday night, as he excepted his second term of office.
Romney made a brief concession speech in Boston, Mass., in which he urged all Americans to pray for Obama and for an end to partisan bickering.
In Washington County, close to 76 percent of registered voters, or 11,030 of 14,593, showed up to the polls or voted absentee in the presidential race. Washington County Auditor Dan Widmer said that during the 2008 election, only about 72 percent of those registered voted. He believes this election set a record in the county for the number who voted.
“It was a hotly contested presidential election that got a lot of national and local coverage,” Widmer said, when asked what he attributed the high turnout to. “Both political parties and some other organizations worked hard to get voters out. I also think it’s due to some local races that were hotly contested and had a lot of interest.”
Widmer said that there are still about 300 absentee ballots that haven’t been returned. He said that if they arrive at the auditor’s office postmarked on or before Nov. 6, they would still be counted. He does not believe there will be enough votes to overturn any of the people elected. The unofficial vote, which was released last night, will be canvassed after the Nov. 13 supervisor’s meeting.
There was a delay in getting the final results Tuesday night, with the totals coming in at
about 11:30 p.m. Widmer said that the Kalona Precinct had run short of ballots and had to resort to paper ballots, which had to be counted by hand.
Democratic representative Dave Loebsack also carried Washington County with 5,221 votes, while challenger John Archer received 5,182 votes.
State House District 78 representative Jarad Klein ran unopposed in this election, and received 7,053 votes.
“As we reflect on what happened for the last two years, we made a good impact on the budget and the economy, but property taxes goes to the heart of the issue I’ve been talking about,” Klein said. “If we do nothing we are going to see a $1 billion increase in property taxes over the next 10 years.”
He said that going into the next term, he hopes the Democrats and Republicans can work in a bipartisan manner to hold down property taxes.
Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar, who also ran unopposed, received 8,184 votes. Widmer received 8,146 votes.
Washington also narrowly voted to retain Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, with 4,421 voting yes and 4,172 voting against. Wiggins was the focus of a Conservative campaign to remove him from office due to his participation in the ruling that legalized gay marriage. Statewide, Iowa votes approved retaining him with more than 54 percent of the vote.
At the polls Tuesday, Widmer said that Washington County election officials reported that the turnout was steady throughout the day. He also said close to 5,000 people had voted absentee before Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.