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District 20 recount confirms Turek victory by miniscule margin

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Iowa House District 20 candidate Josh Turek speaks at a campaign event at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center on Sept. 1, 2022.

After a full day recount, the race for Iowa House District 20 has been certified, with Democrat Josh Turek narrowly beating Republican Sarah Abdouch by the slimmest of margins.

With only nine votes separating the candidates on election night, a recount was inevitable. After provisional ballots were counted, Turek’s lead was down to seven, and when the recount wrapped up at around 7 p.m. Monday night, Turek came away the winner by a mere six votes.

“I’m incredibly honored and grateful and humbled to be elected to the position,” Turek said in an interview with The Daily Nonpareil. “It’s something I take with a great deal of respect and responsibility, and I will do my very best to represent the (cities), the people of Council Bluffs and Carter Lake with dignity and class, and do the very best job I can.”

Turek is aware that winning by less than .01% of the total number of votes is far from a mandate, but he is quick to reassure voters that he is far from an ideologue. In fact, aside from his three core issues — improving education and healthcare, and increasing the minimum wage — he is open to any ideas that will improve the lives of his constituents and his community, regardless of where it comes from.

“I don’t care if it’s a Republican idea or a Democrat idea, let’s just get the best ideas out there,” he said. “I think that anybody that, certainly, voted for me, or even those that voted against me, I think they will see over my time in these two years that I’m going to do my best to represent everybody in the district and certainly not just be a down ballot tribalist.”

One of Turek’s new constituents who he is going to try to represent is his opponent, who agrees that District 20 cannot, and should not, be represented in a partisan manner.

“I think it’s very clear in a close race like this that whoever represents this district cannot be led by partisan agendas,” Abdouch wrote in an email. “The community needs proper representation and I certainly hope that will occur.”

Despite not coming out ahead, Abdouch is glad to have had the opportunity to request a recount, “if only to show how well the process was run here in Pottawattamie County and assure voters that their votes were all counted.”

Turek hopes that having an election decided by so few votes shows voters just how important each and every vote is.

“Just six people ended up deciding the direction and the result of the election,” he said.

It’s not lost on Turek that he is the only Democratic candidate to win his election in southwest Iowa, and one of only a handful across the entire state.

“I’m very thankful for anyone that supported me in any way, whether that’s with a donation or with a sign, or even just the message, and certainly for anyone that voted for me, I hope that I can be the type of representative that individuals can be proud of,” Turek said.

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