State Senator Steve King narrowly won the Republican party’s nomination for western Iowa’s Congressional seat this weekend in an historic nominating convention.No candidate got the required 35 percent support in the June primary, so there had to be a convention to select the party’s nominee. Five-hundred-33 Republican delegates gathered in Denison Saturday morning to cast their ballots, but it took over four hours — and three rounds of voting — for a candidate to get a majority of the votes, which was needed to win. State Senator John Redwine, a doctor from Sioux City, was forced out in the first round, as he got the least votes of the four candidates. Redwine said he and his family had a wonderful time campaigning and are now looking forward to some time off. Jeff Ballenger, a businessman from Council Bluffs who spent nearly half a million dollars of his own money to run for Congress, was forced out in the second round. He says it was hard to lose, but says he will support the nominee “110-percent, because we are all Republicans.”That left just two candidates: Steve King, a businessman from Kiron, and Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs, the Speaker of the Iowa House. Siegrist told delegates he will go back to the private sector if he doesn’t win and King will go back to the senate, so they have a chance to have both work for them. Siegrist says he will support the decision whatever happens. After the third round of balloting was done, King won by just 19 votes. The tally was 272 to 253 and for the first time, gave King a majority of the delegates. King is now the heavy favorite to win the seat, as there are 50-thousand more Republicans than Democrats in the Fifth District. King said he and most western Iowans were “principled conservatives.”King said he’d move the political center of gravity in Congress to the right. The decision marked the end of Siegrist’s political career.Siegrist served 18 years in the Iowa House, and thanked the delegates for giving him the opportunity to go home to his wife and kids.King faces democrat Paul Shomshor of Council Bluffs in November. Special nominating conventions are rare. The last one in Iowa happened in 1964. ……………………………………………………………….You need to add a little more postage to those letters and post cards you send out today. The cost of mailing a first-class letter increased to 37 cents Sunday, with the price of a postcard bumped up to 23 cents. Postal Service spokesperson Carolyn Dotson says they’ve tried to make the transition easy on customers.She says there are three-cent make up stamps available, as well as some new 37-centers. Dotson says if you forget the change, the letter may come back, or arrive with “postage due.” But she says most people keep up with the change.Dotson says some people started putting the extra postage on their letters early. Dotson says the increase is due to several factors such as the anthrax scare and higher fuel prices. Dotson says there are other rate changes that may impact businesses and you can find out about them at your local post office…………………………………………………………………Iowa prosecutors are going to crack down on crimes committed with guns, by making it a federal case. U-S Attorney Mike Heavican in Omaha says prosecuting gun crimes in federal court makes it easier to throw the book at an offender. Felons, drug users, dealers or aliens in possession of guns are just some of the cases the federal prosecutors will take over. Heavican says it’s not a matter of the federal prosecutors out-ranking local lawmen when it comes to gun crimes.He says the investigators aren’t better, the federal laws are just better. He says federal laws concerning guns used in a crime carry heavier penalties and mandatory sentences. He says they’ll work with local and state investigators and prosecutors, and let them know what kind of case may come along they could hand off to the feds. The U-S Attorney says this is a program from the justice department that crosses state lines, and will let prosecutors work together on both sides of the Missouri River, in Iowa and Nebraska.They’re doing cooperative programs in Sioux City and the Omaha – Council Bluffs area. And Heavican doesn’t care how fast or far the word gets around about the new effort to get gun-related offenders into federal court.He says they want to not only prosecute people but warn others they’ll be next.
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