Decades-long Dubuque County Democrat streak threatened - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Decades-long Dubuque County Democrat streak threatened

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Initial election results in Dubuque County look to shatter a long-time Democrat streak.

According to Dubuque County Auditor Denise Dolan, a Republican has not won a Dubuque county-level position for more than 50 years, and this election cycle's supervisor race may change that.

Tuesday night's results show Republican Daryl Klein is leading incumbent supervisor Democrat Donna Smith by only 93 votes.

With as many as 1,000 absentee ballots waiting to be counted, however, both parties are holding their breath.

"I'd rather be 93 votes ahead, as I said to Daryl last night, than 93 votes behind," Dubuque County Republicans chair Brian Gilligan said.

"A lot of people think, 'oh, the election's over, you're done.' No, we're not," Dolan said. "We're still getting the results, getting things ready for the canvass that'll take til next Tuesday. Then, if there's the possibility of recounts. This whole process may not be done until the middle of December, who knows."

The Dubuque County canvass is Tuesday, Nov. 9, after which all results will be final.

"I stress, these are all unofficial totals," Dolan said, of election night results.

Still, Democrats are not happy at the prospect of losing a seat on the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors.

"She's been a very dedicated public servant also, and I'm sorry to see that result," Dubuque County Democrats chair Terry Stewart said. "I'm very glad that we retained Eric Manternach, as he also is a very good public servant."

Democrat Eric Manternach pulled a clear win Tuesday night and will serve another four-year term as supervisor.

He said the prospect of serving alongside a Republican doesn't pose a problem.

"We really don't look at Republican, Democrat when we're making a decision," Manternach said, "so our race could very well be non-partisan."

Stewart said he hasn't seen a supervisor race like this before.

"I haven't seen quite this much attention given to the supervisors race, and, as I mentioned, I'm sorry to see Donna come out on the short end of that result," Stewart said.

What raises the stakes is the history of Democrat leadership in the county.

"In the last, approximately, hundred years, we've put one candidate, two candidates in the Dubuque County Supervisors office," Gilligan said. "Very exciting, it's a great day to be a Dubuque County Republican."

If Klein wins, he'll be the third Republican in the Dubuque County Courthouse since the 1920s and the second since the 1950s.

"It's kind of a Democratic county," Dolan said.

She said voter turnout in Dubuque County was 52 percent. Normal voter turnout during a midterm election is between 50 and 60 percent.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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