By Scott Levine
Herald Associate Editor
---- — CLINTON — Dan Srp and Shawn Hamerlinck are no strangers to being public officials.
And after Tuesday’s primary win in the Clinton County Board of Supervisors race, they will have five months to prepare for another election.
Srp and Hamerlinck surpassed the threshold needed to gain the Republican nod for the two seats open on the Board of Supervisors. Srp is currently a Camanche School Board member and Hamerlinck previously served in the Iowa State Senate.
“The biggest thing on the school board... people know you pretty well because we’re working in the same community,” Srp said. “In this position (Board of Supervisors), there’s a whole lot of people I don’t know and I want them to get to know me.”
Voters voiced their approval with Srp to the tune of 1,038 votes, which generated the most within the primary. Srp dominated his hometown of Camanche, where he registered 174 votes. The other four candidates registered 120 votes combined in Camanche.
Hamerlinck finished with 813 votes, and used a strong showing in the city of DeWitt, also where he lives, with 186 votes. In Clinton, Srp notched the most votes with 351.
Hamerlinck was appreciative of the well-run race orchestrated by the other four candidates.
“We’ve got to compliment everyone for running a positive campaign,” Hamerlinck said. “Everyone spoke highly of each other and had good discussions on the issues with everyone.”
To avoid a nominating convention, candidates needed more than 614 votes to qualify to be on the November ballot. Srp, Hamerlinck and Lydia Whitman all registered more than that threshold.
For Whitman, it wasn’t enough with 650 votes. However, she’s happy to have met so many people in Clinton County.
“It was a pleasure getting to know folks of every corner of Clinton County,” Whitman said. “I look forward to working with residents through the Clinton County Extension council, and make Clinton County a great place to live.”
Kurt Olson finished fourth with 507 votes, and netted 61 out of the 188 votes in the Calamus area. Whitman also did well in that area with 62 votes.
Olson, who hasn’t run for political office before, will take the experience from the primary campaign trail into future races, if he decides to run again.
“Any one of us would have been a good candidate to go further,” Olson said. “I wish the two the best of luck and hopefully we’ll have these two Republicans on the Board of Supervisors. “This has been a learning experience. I realized some things, and know what to do and what not to do.”
Les Shields, a former Clinton School Board member, notched 495 votes.
“I did not lose anything tonight,” Shields said. “I have a wife who loves me, who continues to be my biggest supporter; four kids and three sons-in-law, who love me and respect me; and five grandchildren, who love me and think I’m the best grandparent. I have not lost anything.”
Srp and Hamerlinck won the absentee votes, with Srp earning 156 votes and Hamerlinck garnering 109.
The total turnout registered 7.57 percent of registered voters. Out of 33,953 voters, 2,570 people cast ballots.
During primaries, voters must declare a political party.
The primary race featured an above-average amount of candidates. The last Board of Supervisors primary in 2012 featured one candidate for each party and had a 9.5 percent voter turnout. However, voters had contested races for the Iowa State Senate and U.S. House of Representatives during that year.
The last time there was a contested primary in the Board of Supervisors race was in 2008 when Brian Schmidt defeated Richard Peasley to earn the Republican nomination. Also in that year, Hamerlinck defeated Thomas Black to gain the GOP nod on the Iowa State Senate ballot. Hamerlinck later earned a seat in the Iowa State Senate during the General Election in 2008.
Srp and Hamerlinck will now square off against the two Democrats already slated for the ballot in November, Gayle Dolan and Jim West.