Sioux City Voters Getting Out-of-Town Postcards in Special Election for Statehouse Seat

Jan 4, 2018

An out-of-state Democratic group is targeting an Iowa statehouse race, hoping to turn a Republican house seat from red to blue.   

The volunteer organization Postcards to Voters is sending hand-written, hand-designed postcards urging Democrats in House District 6 in Sioux City to go to the polls to elect Democrat Rita De Jong in a special election on January 16. 

Postcards to Voters founder Tony McMullin says they target special elections around the country when 

Handmade postcard from Florida volunteer in support of Iowa House District 6 democratic candidate Rita DeJong

turnout is usually low and where there’s a chance to flip a seat from the GOP to the Democrats.    

“This year we’ve seen some surprising outcomes in districts in special elections which it doesn’t look like that district will turn blue but they have been turning blue,” McMullin said.  

De Jong and Republican Jacob Bossman are competing for the House seat vacated when Rep. Jim Carlin (R-Sioux City) was recently elected to the Iowa Senate. 

In that Sioux City Senate race,   Democratic candidate Doug Wendt performed better than expected and far better than Hillary Clinton did among the district’s voters in 2016. 

That’s giving Democrats high hopes for capturing House District 6 on January 16th.

Volunteers with Postcards to Voters have sent the hand-written cards to Democrats in 41 special elections around  the country since March of last year, from schoolboard races to congressional elections.

“In Alabama, we wrote 347,000 postcards in every Democratic household who was identified in the Doug Jones election,” McMullin said.   “Clearly Rita’s list will not be quite that long, thankfully.”    

At first it was a little confusing. -Fairfield voter Holly Moore

Postcards to Voters also helped Democrat Phil Miller win a special election for House District 82 in southeast Iowa last year.   

Democratic voter Holly Moore of Fairfield received one of those postcards.    

“At first it was a little confusing,” Moore said.   “I got one from California.”

Now Moore has joined the volunteer effort.    She has sent postcards to Democrats in special elections all over the country, including Georgia, Maryland, and New Hampshire. 

“I’ve been writing postcards virtually every other day since August,” Moore said. 

Postcards currently arriving in Democrats’ mailboxes in Sioux City are postmarked from Florida.

Follow Joyce Russell on Twitter:    @russell_ipr

Story corrected 01/05 7:21 a.m. for location of recent special election in  southeast Iowa.