On June 5, Deidre DeJear made history.
A business owner from Des Moines, DeJear is the first person of color to win a primary election for a statewide office. In November, she will face incumbent Secretary of State Paul Pate, whose new voter identification measures she has harshly criticized.
DeJear ran a campaign largely focused on the importance of small businesses in Iowa and ensuring that all Iowans have the right to vote. On her campaign website, DeJear specifically addresses Secretary of State Paul Pate’s “voter integrity” bill that was passed in May 2017. The primary election on June 5 was the first election where the law was in effect.
When asked about Pate’s voter identification law after she received the nomination, DeJear said, “I do not support any barriers to the ballot box. However, the bill has passed, and as my dad likes to say, instead of harping on a hurdle, we must find a way to get over it.”
She believes this includes working with the state legislature, but also said that she “will leverage the power of the Secretary of State’s office to work with legislatures to improve the voter process by making it more accessible to voters. That includes young voters, voters with disabilities, both rural and urban voters, working voters, voters in poverty, etc.”
The law, which requires voters to provide a state-issued form of identification at the polls, has faced harsh criticism from Democratic candidates, as well as voters so far this election season.
DeJear’s challenger in the primary, Jim Mowrer, also criticized the law and has now offered his support to DeJear for the general election.
Once the election had been called in DeJear’s favor, Mowrer tweeted, “I just called and congratulated @DeidreDeJear on her win tonight. She has my full support for #IASoS.”
DeJear told her supporters that night, “Today, I am ready to roll up my sleeves one more time and get back to work. My vision for this office – where all voters have equal access to the ballot box and our elections are fair and accessible to all – is one that I know we all share. Together, let’s make history in November.”