31 conservatives endorse state auditor Rob Sand in re-election bid

By: - October 6, 2022 7:28 pm

State Auditor Rob Sand appears on Iowa PBS’ “Iowa Press” on April , 2021. (Screenshot via Iowa PBS)

Iowa Auditor of State Rob Sand, a Democrat, has received endorsements from 31 conservative political figures in his bid for re-election, his campaign announced Thursday.

Sand’s supporters include Republican, Libertarian and conservative independent elected officials and candidates, as well as former Republican Party of Iowa staffers and private-sector leaders, according to a campaign news release. State Representative Dave Maxwell, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rick Stewart, and Mike Mahaffey, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, are among those who have endorsed Sand in his second-term run.

“You can trust divisiveness and politics-as-usual is out the window when you see Republican, Libertarian, and conservative leaders all supporting a Democrat,” Sand said in a news release. “Our anti-partisan approach identified more than $25 million in misspent funds, created a government efficiency program so good the state auditor of Mississippi copied it, and held insiders of both parties accountable. I’ll continue that work in my second term if awarded one by voters.”

Sand was elected state auditor in 2018, defeating Republican incumbent Mary Mosiman. This year, he is running against Republican Todd Halbur, who has campaigned on bringing conservative values to the state office.

But conservative supporters backing Sand said they are endorsing the Democratic candidate because of his work with Iowans across the political spectrum. Sand’s office leadership includes independent and Republican staffers, as well as law enforcement officials.

“Rob Sand understands why people are fed up with politics and strives to do things differently,” Maxwell said in a statement. “He serves the public interest, not partisan interests, and works hard to protect the taxpayer. Common-sense Iowa voters can be confident in the work Rob Sand is doing as auditor.”

While Halbur said at the Iowa State Fair that he is a “fiscal conservative,” he also said the state auditor should not be involved in partisan disputes. He has pointed to Sand’s audits of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ actions in office, including a case that forced the governor to return $21 million in federal COVID-19 aid that was improperly spent.

Sand has defended his audits of the governor, saying voters do not want a “lap dog” in the position.

Mahaffey, the former state GOP chairman, said he was endorsing Sand because of his willingness to “defend the other party or criticize his own, even outside of his official duties.”

“Rob is a good public servant who strives to serve all Iowans regardless of who they are or which party they belong to,” Mahaffey said in a statement. “He reminds me of former State Auditor Dick Johnson, a Republican who had the respect and admiration of people across the political spectrum.”

Endorsers include:

  • Aaron Alons, former Sheldon City Council Member, O’Brien County
  • Wayne Barahona, former Sheldon City Council Member, O’Brien County
  • Michael Bawden, former Mayor of Riverdale, Scott County
  • John Ellingson, former Waukon City Council Member, Allamakee County
  • Larry Keller, Clarke County Supervisor
  • Skip Lowe, former Tama Council Member, Poweshiek County
  • Tina Meth Farrington, Calhoun County Attorney
  • State Representative Dave Maxwell, Poweshiek County
  • John Mickelson, Former West Des Moines City Council Member, Polk County
  • Jared Rosien, Mayor of Washington, Washington County
  • Clint Sargent, Former Mayor of Missouri Valley, Harrison County
  • Walt Tomenga, Former State Representative, Greene County
  • Sheriff Jeff Vandewater, Adair County
  • Marco Battaglia, Libertarian Party of Iowa Candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Polk County
  • Joseph Howe, Former Chairman of Libertarian Party of Iowa, Polk County
  • Jake Porter, 2018 Libertarian Party of Iowa Candidate for Governor, Pottawattamie County
  • Rick Stewart, Libertarian Party of Iowa Candidate for Governor, Linn County
  • Mike Mahaffey, former Chairman of Republican Party of Iowa, Poweshiek County
  • Steve Noah, Former Executive Director of Republican County of Iowa, Polk County
  • Georgia and Mark Brown, Eagle Tool Company Owners, Dubuque County
  • Brian Downing, High School Principal, Dickinson County
  • Bob Downer, Former Republican Party National Convention Delegate, Johnson County
  • Mark Hanawalt, Former Chair of Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Bremer County
  • Bob Haney, Agribusiness leader, Warren County
  • Aaron Juergens, Iowa Pork Producers Board Member, Carroll County
  • Capt. Terry LeMaster (ret.), Council Bluffs Police Dept, Pottawattamie County
  • Drew Skogman, Linn County
  • Dave Zrostlik, Former Chair of Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Hancock County
  • Tim Grover, State Director Restore Liberty Iowa, Jackson County
  • Mike Sylvester, Director of Grassroots Outreach, Iowa Pork Producers, Polk County

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include the list of endorsements for state auditor Rob Sand’s campaign, in addition to clarifying that the Republican Party of Iowa staffer endorsements came from former, not current employees.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.

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