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Newscast 6.5.2024: Feenstra gets Iowa 4th primary win, plus other primary winners in Iowa and South Dakota; High water problematic in Okoboji area

Northwest Iowa Congressman Randy Feenstra speaks to a class of Siouxland high school students in 2023. (Photo by Mary Hartnett)

The Tuesday primary voting results in Iowa delivered a win to Congressman Randy Feenstra, who became the Republican nominee for the Iowa 4th Congressional District contest in November.

Feenstra, who is seeking a third term, got 26,763 votes, for 60 percent, and held off Republican challenger Kevin Virgil, a businessman, from Sutherland, Iowa. On Twitter/X, Virgil posted that he plans to run again in 2026.

Feenstra in November will face Ryan Melton, a Democrat from Nevada, Iowa, making for a rematch of the 2022 contest.

Also, there were Republican Party primaries for two Iowa Legislature positions with Northwest Iowa districts. Two Republicans were aiming to succeed State Representative Ken Carlson, in the District 13 post. The winner was Travis Sitzmann, of Le Mars, who had 62.4 percent of the vote, to defeat Noah Wiseler, of Sioux City.

In Iowa House District 7, Republican challenger Wendy Lou Larson, of Odebolt, came close to ousting longtime incumbent Mike Sexton, of Rockwell City. However, Sexton got 55 more votes than Larson, for 50.8 percent, to win the primary.

There were two dominant wins for the two victors in the Republican primary election contests for Woodbury County posts.

In the County Auditor contest. Michelle Skaff got 2,543 votes, for 68 percent, compared to 32 percent for Keith Radig.Radig is in his last year as a county supervisor and was seeking to move to a different county position.

Longtime Democratic incumbent Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill is running again. Skaff works in the county auditor office with Gill, as the Deputy Auditor.

The two Republicans running for the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors rural District 3 position were Brian McNaughton, and incumbent Mark Nelson, who was appointed in January 2023 to fill out the last two years of a four-year term.

Nelson won the primary handily, with 2,324 votes, for 69 percent.

There were three Republican contests in Southeast South Dakota for the Legislature, where all three incumbents defeated challengers.

In the primary for the South Dakota Senate District 17 seat, State Senator Sydney Davis got 67 percent, to defeat Jeffrey Church.

For the two District 17 seats in the South Dakota House, Republican incumbents Bill Shorma, of Dakota Dunes, and Chris Kassin, of Vermillion, took substantial primary election wins.

The primary election in Nebraska took place in May, and now the nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties are set for the general election on Nov. 5.

Additionally, officials in the Iowa Great Lakes Area are keeping a close eye on high water levels.

Michael Ehret is emergency management coordinator for Dickinson County Emergency Management. He says Big Spirit, and East and West Lake Okoboji are six inches away from seeing a 5-mile-per-hour limit for boating speeds.

“So, with the continued rain we've had over the last several weeks, the river levels and lake levels have come up significantly from where we started in the spring. Like a lot of the state, we went from drought to flood in a matter of a couple of weeks,” Ehret said.

Ehret says high water can impact the shoreline and damage property, docks, and boat hoists.

The DNR restricts boaters from causing a wake 300 feet from the shore, but Ehret suggests they stay even farther away until lake levels start falling. He is thankful the current forecast calls for dry conditions for the next week to allow levels to stabilize.

In other precipitation-related news, after historic rains this May, Iowa farmers are not only behind on planting, but could see their planted crops at risk as well.

June is typically Iowa’s wettest month, and nearly a quarter of the state’s farmland topsoil is already holding surplus moisture, leading to flooding and pooling in lower parts of fields.

USDA Midwest Climate Hub Director Dennis Todey says that raises several concerns for planted crops in those areas.

The concern always at this point is one: yield, can we get it along enough in the season to get a yield, and two: will it get to mature in time before the fall frost,” Today said.

Current climate projections show possible drier conditions by the middle of the month.