ORANGE CITY, Iowa | Republican John Kooiker won Tuesday’s special election for an open Iowa House seat representing most of Sioux County.
Kooiker earned 61 percent of the vote, easily besting the only other candidate on the ballot, Democrat John Bunstma, who polled 13.5 percent, in the heavily Republican district.
In fact, write-in candidate Dennis Wright, a Republican former Sioux County supervisor, received the second-most votes, 840, or 25 percent.
Kooiker and Bunstma were running to represent the 4th District. The seat came open after the December death of former Rep. Dwayne Alons of Hull.
“My reaction is thankfulness,” Kooiker said. “I just plan to represent District 4 to the best of my ability and in a very similar fashion to the way Dwayne Alons was representing them."
Kooiker, who called Alons a good friend, was considered a heavy favorite because of the district’s demographics: The ratio of active registered Republicans to Democrats is 9 to 1, making it the most Republican district in the state.
Kooiker, 68, of Boyden, is a farmer and U.S. Army veteran. He also taught math and physics at a Christian academy in Japan.