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Law student wins Iowa Senate seat

1/19/2011 Des Moines Register

Republican Jack Whitver of Ankeny has earned a seat in the Iowa Senate after being chosen by District 35 voters during Tuesday’s special election.

With 31 of 32 precincts reporting, unofficial results from the Polk County auditor’s office showed Whitver leading Democratic challenger John Calhoun of Polk City by a vote of 4,771 to 2,739. With one precinct yet to be counted late Tuesday, Whitver had captured 63 percent of the vote.

Senate District 35 covers Ankeny, Polk City, Alleman, Elkhart, Johnston and Grimes, and areas in Saylor, Jefferson, Crocker, Douglas, Franklin, Washington, Elkhart, Lincoln, Madison and Union townships.

The seat was vacated by Larry Noble in December. He stepped down to become commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Whitver, 30, has said that the budget, taxes, jobs and education would be his top issues if elected. He could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Whitver has been a small-business owner for seven years. His company, Acceleration Iowa, is an athlete training center and fitness facility. He also is a second-year student at Drake University Law School.

He previously was a candidate for an Iowa House post, served as a Republican convention delegate and has volunteered on several campaigns.

Calhoun, 61, has said that jobs, education and early childhood education were his top issues.

He said Tuesday night that he hoped Whitver would especially make preschool programs a priority.

Calhoun also thanked his campaign supporters. “I’m appreciative of all the people who worked for me to do this,” he said.

Calhoun’s professional experience includes 27 years with 3rd Judicial District Juvenile Court Services. He has been active in Polk City Kiwanis, Polk City Chamber of Commerce and the Johnston Lions Club. Calhoun previously was a candidate for an Iowa House seat and also for the North Polk school board.