UI undergrad running for Johnson County Board of Supervisors as a Republican candidate

The special election will be held on June 8, with Johnson County Republicans choosing their candidate May 8.


Photo of Micah Broekemeier. Contributed.

Natalie Dunlap, Politics Reporter

Micah Broekemeier, a 29-year-old history major at the University of Iowa, has announced his intention to run as a Republican in the upcoming special election for a Johnson County Board of Supervisors seat.

Broekemeier graduated high school in Nebraska in 2010 and served in the Marine Corps until 2015. He then came to Council Bluffs Iowa, where he worked at a remodeling company. Broekemeier moved to Johnson County in 2020 and is currently in his second semester at the UI.

He had a conservative upbringing but didn’t consider getting into politics himself until recently.

“It was never really something I saw myself in honestly until coming to Johnson County and I’m absolutely in love with Johnson County,” he said. “This is just a beautiful area. My wife and I fully intend to settle down here and start a family, but it’d be pretty obvious to point out that … the voter diversity isn’t necessarily there.”

Noticing a lack of conservative voices in the county, Broekemeier decided to get involved. He saw the special election as a unique opportunity to get voters out quickly, which appealed to him as a full-time student. He said friends and family in the state are helping him get the work out about the campaign.

The special election will be held June 8 to replace Janelle Rettig. She has served on the board since 2009, and as previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Rettig chose to resign before her term was set to end in 2022.

The Republican nominating convention will be held May 8, and Democrats will hold their nominating convention May 11. The filing deadline is May 14, according to the Johnson County Auditor’s office.

Rettig and the rest of the board are Democrats. In Johnson County, Democrats are 50.96 percent of registered voters, no party voters are 29.87 percent, Republicans are 18.18 percent, and other party voters make up less than one percent according to the April 2021 voter registration totals from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.

RELATED: Janelle Rettig resigns from Johnson County Board of Supervisors

The last time a Republican won in a special election for the county Board of Supervisors was in 2013, when John Etheredge beat out Terry Dahms by less than 200 votes. A Republican hasn’t won in a general election in the county since 1958.

Broekemeier admitted that running as a Republican in Iowa’s most Democratic county presented challenges, but said he has experience working with people from different backgrounds in the Marine Corps.

“I worked with people that were Republican or Democrat, or, you know, anything else in between,” he said. “And I never let that get in the way and I think that’s something that military training has sort of helped me with that. I would take that same sort of mentality over to working here in Johnson County. I’ve no problem working with Democrats, I have no problem reaching a hand out across the aisle, as long as we can work for the greater good.”

As of April 28, Broekemeier is one of two Republicans to declare their candidacy, the other is Clay Warren. Karen Fesler, the secretary for Johnson County Republicans, said she hopes voters will consider the candidates and decide who best fits their values.

“You just can’t go to the voting booth and punch the same button all the time, you really need to be an educated voter, and I think for the most part Johnson County people are, but I’m hoping they’re going to hear some things from new candidates, and that’ll help them make a decision,” Fensler said. “It would be great to have some Republican representation on the Board of Supervisors.”

Three Democrats have announced candidacy for the position: Scott Finlayson, the Johnson County Deputy Treasurer; Jon Green, former mayor of Lone Tree; and Meghann Foster, a Coralville City Council member.

Broekemeier said he wants to keep bills from negatively impacting the rural community, he doesn’t want farmers to face new restrictions on their property. He said he wants to make sure everyone in Johnson County knows their vote will be counted, but he said he doesn’t buy into the conspiracy theory that there was widespread election fraud in the 2020 election.

“I don’t believe in any crazy voting fraud stuff that some of the other pundits have pointed out, but I do want to make sure that everyone within Johnson County knows their votes are going to be counted,” he said. “And I’ll make sure bills passed, and the rights of all people to vote within the county are respected.”