Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, is seeking reelection and Democratic Primary voters will choose from one of two candidates hoping to challenge Pate in November.

Democrat Diedre DeJear of Des Moines is a Drake University graduate and a former Bankers Trust small business loan officer who started a business that helps small business owners. Former Iowa Lieutenant Governor Sally Petersen met the candidate when DeJear did voter outreach for the 2012 Obama campaign and Petersen is backing DeJear’s bid for secretary of state.

“She strongly believes that we need a person in the secretary of state’s office who is interested in increasingly participation in our elections and not creating barriers for voters,” Petersen says.

DeJear would make history if Democrats select her as their nominee for Secretary of State. DeJear would be the first African American nominated by Iowa primary voters for a statewide office.

Her Democratic opponent in the secretary of state’s race is Jim Mowrer of Des Moines. Mowrer is a native of Boone and a former Iowa National Guardsman who served in Iraq, then as an aide in the Pentagon. State Representative Todd Prichard of Charles City is backing Mowrer.

“I’ve known Jim for a long time. He and I served in Iraq together,” Prichard says. “He’s always been dedicated to public service. He’s passionate about the issues and about the state.”

Mowrer is making his third bid for public office. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 against Steve King and in 2016 against David Young.

Mowrer created a political action committee after Donald Trump’s 2016 win to advocate for abolishing the Electoral College. The Majority Rules PAC took in nearly $130,000 through the end of March. The PAC has contributed to and endorsed Mowrer’s 2018 campaign and made payments to Mowrer’s consulting firm. The Iowa GOP contends that violates state law. A Mowrer aide says the PAC was created under federal law, so state rules shouldn’t apply.