There was a bit of drama this morning at Iowa Public Television as a spokesman for the second-place finisher in Tuesday’s U.S. senate primary demanded that the first-place finisher not be allowed on IPTV’s airwaves.
When the votes were counted Tuesday night, Christopher Reed of Marion finished 413 votes ahead on George Eichhorn of Stratford. Reed considers himself the "presumptive" Republican U.S. Senate candidate to face Senator Tom Harkin in November, but he does not begrudge Eichhorn’s right to contest the primary results. "I think this party is unified, but the laws are in place that if (the results) are within one percent, it should be canvassed and he is in the right place to request that," Reed says. "If that’s how he feels and he feels strongly about it, that’s of his right."
Iowa law requires a candidate to pass the 35 percent threshold in order to win a primary, or the winner will be decided at a convention. Reed secured 35.3 percent of the votes counted Tuesday and he expects that result to stand after the votes are "canvassed" county-by-county. Reed says his 413-vote margin of victory will be hard for Eichhorn to surpass if the votes are recounted, but Reed isn’t protesting Eichhorn’s right to call for a recount."I really like him. He’s a very nice person and I won’t discourage him or dishonor him for doing that," Reed says.
Iowa Public Television’s "Iowa Press" is a half-hour-long public affairs program and Reed is to be the guest this evening when the show airs at 7:30. The program was taped this morning. Afterwards, Reed expressed confidence he would be his party’s U.S. Senate nominee to face Tom Harkin in November even if the matter is decided at the GOP’s state convention June 14.
"I think that if it goes to convention it’s going to turn out the same as the vote did. People want new blood and new life," Reed told reporters. "We’ve tried a politician against Tom Harkin four times before. If we try that again, we’re going to be 0-for-5." Reed, who is 36, has never held office before. Eichhorn was a state legislator for six years before losing his House seat in the 2006 election.