Labor Day is often considered the kick-off for politicians’ sprint to the November election. The Iowa Libertarian Party has fielded a full slate of competitors for the six statewide offices on the November ballot.
Jack Porter of Council Bluffs, the party’s 2018 candidate for governor, has run for secretary of state twice. Jules Ofenbakh of West Des Moines is the party’s nominee for Secretary of State in 2018.
“I am a lawyer. I am a businesswoman. I’m a Libertarian and, as you can all possibly hear by now, I am an immigrant,” she said during a speech on The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. “I am that Russian that you want in charge of your elections.”
Ofenbakh came to the United States 26 years ago as visitors and sought political asylum. Sixteen years later, she become an American citizen and cast her first vote here at the age of 32.
“I take the constitutional right to vote as a privilege,” Ofenbakh said. “lt is very important to me. It is near and dear to my heart…The fact that Iowans right now have their constitutional right impeded upon by a voter ID is appalling to me.”
Rick Stewart of Cedar Rapids, the party’s nominee for state ag secretary, is a retired businessman.
“So what I know something about is economics, business and history…That’s what the secretary of agriculture needs to know. They don’t need to know how to farm,” Stewart said on The Register’s Political Soapbox at the State Fair. “We’ve got 82,000 farmers who know how to farm. What the secretary of agriculture needs to know is how to stop the government from telling the farmers how to do their job.”
Marco Battaglia of Des Moines ran unsuccessfully for the party’s nomination for governor in the June Primary. Iowa Libertarians then nominated him to run for attorney general. Battaglia said he’s running to highlight the need for criminal justice reform.
“We’re filling up our prisons by people that have committed crimes that most of us don’t think should be crimes at this junction, low-level drug crimes, things where someone is too poor to pay a fine and we’re locking them up because of that,” Battaglia said at The Register’s Political Soapbox during the State Fair.
Battaglia, an independent journalist and musician, addresses the fact he’s a non-lawyer running to head the Iowa Department of Justice.
“Few lawyers with JDs know and understand the historical context surrounding the Constitution,” Battaglia said. “Instead, they are taught case law which is extremely divergent from the founders’ intent.”
Libertarian Timothy Hird, an engineer from Des Moines, is running for state treasurer for a second time. Hird got three-and-a-half percent of the vote in the state treasurer’s race back in 2014. Fred Perryman, a sales manager from Cedar Falls, is the Libertarian Party’s candidate for State Auditor.