Local Dems Challenge, Question Sen. Jack Whitver’s Residency

By Pat Rynard
March 28, 2022

Where exactly does Sen. Jack Whitver live? That’s the question Democrats want to know as the Senate President prepares for his run in a new, more Republican-leaning district in 2022.

A challenge was filed against Whitver’s candidacy late Friday afternoon, and the Secretary of State will hold a hearing on it and other challenges on Tuesday afternoon. Mary McAdams, the leader of the Ankeny Area Democrats, filed one of the challenges over issues she sees with his Declaration of Residency form.

Though Whitver did list his current address in an Affidavit of Candidacy filed on March 10, he did not fill out any address in his Declaration of Residency form filed in late January. On that form, he simply wrote that he currently lives in Senate District 21 but is “running in 23 in 2022.”

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The issue revolves around Whitver’s decision to run in the newly-formed Senate District 23, which wraps around most of rural Polk County. The district that he currently lives in, now numbered Senate District 21 following redistricting, contains the vast majority of Ankeny and is largely the same area that he’s represented since 2011.

But with Ankeny’s growth, the district lines contracted and caused the seat to become a little more Democratic—Joe Biden carried it with 49.2% of the vote in 2020. The more rural district Whitver is planning to run in now was won by Trump by 13 points.

“Senators were required to submit their declaration of residence to the Secretary of State’s office by February 2, 2022. Senator Whitver did not meet this requirement,” McAdams wrote in her challenge. “The document he submitted was incomplete and does not include any address of residence. This is a blatant violation of the requirement of Senators to declare their residency. Senator Whitver’s address in his affidavit of candidacy is not within Senate district 23’s boundaries. While this alone is not enough to remove a candidate from the ballot, Whitver’s demonstrated pattern of deception and failure to follow basic requirements, along with the inconsistencies in address between these two documents, show that Senator Whiter has not, nor will he, establish residency in Senate district 23 within the required timeframe.”

Under Iowa law, you need only to reside in the district you’re running in 60 days out from the election. So you can technically file for office even if your current address isn’t in the district. In the Secretary of State’s official candidate filing list, Whitver still has his current address in the SD 21 district.

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Polk County Democrats Chair Sean Bagniewski faced a similar issue, with his house falling just barely outside the lines of the new Iowa House district he hoped to run in. He also listed his now-former house address that fell in a different district in his filing, but he has since made public on social media that he has already moved into a new home within the HD 35 district he’s seeking election to in 2022.

There does not appear to be any public explanation from Whitver yet on where, when, or if he has already moved into the new Senate district. A request for clarification from the senator wasn’t immediately answered, though more may be known during tomorrow’s hearing.


by Pat Rynard

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  • Pat Rynard

    Pat Rynard founded Iowa Starting Line in 2015. He is now Courier Newsroom's National Political Editor, where he oversees political reporters across the country. He still keeps a close eye on Iowa politics, his dog's name is Frank, and football season is his favorite time of year.

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