Pate reclaims his position as Iowa’s secretary of state

Incumbent Paul Pate defeated Democratic opponent Deidre DeJear for a spot as the chief executive of Iowa elections.


Kit Fitzgerald, News Reporter

On Tuesday, Paul Pate was re-elected to his position as Iowa’s secretary of state. Pate beat opponent Democrat Deidre DeJear 52.86 percent to 44.74 percent, with all counties reporting results.

The Secretary of State’s Office oversees Iowa elections and acts as a record-keeper for businesses.

Although Pate was behind for the first half of the race, he wasn’t nervous.

RELATED: Two candidates seek to be Iowa Secretary of State

“It’s the early vote” Pate said while polling behind DeJear. “…I’ve been through a few elections and the first votes in typically aren’t the ones that come out in the end. “

In 2014, Pate won 46.34 percent of the vote in the election for secretary of state.

During the 2017 legislative session, Pate championed a controversial voter-ID law that was signed into law in 2017.

The new law requires voters to bring identification to the polls beginning in 2019. The Secretary of State’s Office provides free state IDs for registered voters in case Iowans don’t have valid ones.

RELATED: Democratic candidates have out-raised Republicans in state races this election cycle

DeJear, a 32-year-old Mississippi native who was the first black candidate to earn a nomination by a major party for a statewide office in Iowa, was strongly against Pate’s voter-ID law.

DeJear said the law put unnecessary obstacles in the way of voters, but Pate argues it secures elections against voter fraud.

Pate cited a poll from the Des Moines Register that reported 69 percent of Iowans support a voter-ID law and said Iowans are looking for confidence in their voting system.

Pate noted that during this election cycle, nobody was barred from the polls due to the changes from the Voter ID law.

“No one was repelled from getting their opportunity to vote,” Pate said. “We had record number of people voting under the Voter ID bill.”

Pate began his political career in 1989, spending six years as a state senator. In 1994, Pate was elected Iowa’s secretary of state and served his first term. Between his first and second term, Pate served as mayor of Cedar Rapids in 2001.

Pate graduated from Kirkwood Community College and lives in Cedar Rapids with wife Jane. They have three children and five grandchildren, and he owns an asphalt paving company in Marion.

This 2018 win marks Pate’s third term.

Over the past eight years Pate has pushed initiatives such as making voting simple for overseas military members and developing online voter registration in Iowa.

Within five months of Pate’s office implementing the online program’s launch in 2015, 10,000 Iowans registered to vote online, according the office’s website.

Besides the voter-ID law, Pate promised to continue to promote the Safe at Home program, an address-confidentiality program for survivors of violence.

The program provides survivors with substitute addresses and keeps their real ones confidential. Survivors can use the substitute addresses for mail-forwarding service and confidential voter registration and absentee voting. Pate said that the program has approximately 500 participants.

Pate called this election cycle under the Voter ID bill successful.

“[Iowa is] top five in the country for voter participation and I’ve worked hard to make that a reality,” Pate said. “I’m proud of Iowans because they’re voters. And they’re coming out to make sure their voices are heard. That’s what it’s about.”