A Maquoketa High School teacher garnered the Democratic nomination for the Iowa Senate 13th District seat by a landslide Tuesday, beating out candidates from Clinton and Zwingle.

Tod Bowman, 45, was up against Paul Feller of Clinton, former Clinton City Councilman Ed O’Neill and Brian Moore of Zwingle.

Unofficial election results show Bowman with 1,564 votes, Feller with 54 votes, O’Neill with 230 votes and Moore with 714 votes.

Bowman thanked the other candidates who ran against him, acknowledging the work that goes into running for election. He said he’s setting his sites on November.

“I worked hard to try to fight for the values I believe in, and I feel good about the outcome,” Bowman said. “I look forward to the fall election.”

The November general election will see Bowman pitted against Andrew Naeve, a school board member from Andover who gained the Republican nomination for the seat Tuesday after running unopposed.

Bowman has been in the education field with more than 20 years, with about 15 years of it spent in Maquoketa. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention two years ago and worked as a fellow for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin in Washington, D.C. District 13 is composed of Jackson County, a northern portion of Clinton County that includes the city of Clinton and a small part of southern Dubuque County.

The seat came open with Sen. Roger Stewart, D-Preston, announcing last year that he would retire.

Election turnout

Tuesday’s primary election went rather smoothly, Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker said.

Van Lancker said the turnout percentage was approximately 9.5 percent. Van Lancker said 3,202 ballots were cast in the primary. This included  2,161 republican ballots and 1,041 democratic ballots. Not quite 600 of the ballots were absentee ballots. 

Van Lancker said these turnout numbers are pretty comparable with past primary turnouts. In the 2006 primary,  2,970 ballots were cast. A total of 3,356 ballots were cast in the 2008 primary.

“Our primary numbers are pretty consistent,” said Van Lancker. He said these numbers are unofficial until the canvas at the Monday Board of Supervisors meeting.

 Van Lancker said he was happy with how well the election went. He said all of the polling locations ran smoothly and the five precincts who used the Precinct Atlas system for the first time had no problems.

“We for sure would have loved to serve more voters, but the day went pretty smooth,” said Van Lancker.

State races

After more than a decade out of office, former Gov. Terry Branstad on Tuesday claimed the Republican nomination to seek a fifth term, outlasting Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats in a fiercely competitive gubernatorial primary.

“I really appreciate the confidence that the voters in the Republican primary have shown in me,” Branstad said. “I feel confident we can not only unite the Republican Party, but we can attract a significant number of independents as well as some disaffected Democrats.”

The campaign between Branstad and Vander Plaats had been harsh at times, and although Vander Plaats didn’t endorse Branstad on Tuesday night, he did call his rival and soften his tone.

“We had some differences in this primary,” Vander Plaats said. “What we’ve agreed to do is sit down and discuss our differences.”

The third candidate in the race, Rep. Rod Roberts, of Carroll, also called Branstad. With 84 percent of the state’s 1,873 precincts reporting, the former governor had 50.2 percent of the vote, compared with Vander Plaats’ 40.6 percent and Roberts’ 9.1 percent.

Branstad told cheering supporters in his victory speech that the state was ready for a comeback.

“For Iowans who want open and honest and transparent government, change is coming,” he said.

Both he and Culver planned to start their general election campaigns Wednesday. Culver was headed to a Des Moines elementary school to tout his preschool programs, while Branstad was scheduled to speak to a business group in Ames.

“I can’t wait to get this campaign started,” Culver said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Terry Branstad has distorted our record, and he’s spent $3 million to get barely 50 percent of the Republican primary vote.”

The governor’s race has drawn plenty of attention for months, as Branstad sought a return to the office he held from 1983 to 1999. He received endorsements from former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, while Vander Plaats got support from actor Chuck Norris and conservative icon James Dobson.

Nancy Bunker, 60, a real estate broker from the Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights, said she voted for Branstad but the endorsements didn’t mean much to her, especially Palin’s support for the former governor.

“I don’t care about Sarah Palin,” Bunker said.

In other races, Roxanne Conlin captured the Democratic nomination to square off against Sen. Charles Grassley in the November election.

Also, Ben Lange, of Independence, garnered the Republican nod to face U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley in the upcoming election.