UPDATE: After Recount, Democrat Hangs Onto Lead in Council Bluffs

By Amie Rivers

November 18, 2022

Paralympian gold medalist and Democrat Josh Turek hung onto his Iowa House District 20 win by just six votes after a recount requested by his Republican opponent Sarah Abdouch.

According to Pottawattamie County’s official canvass last week, Turek had 3,404 votes to Abdouch’s 3,397.

Abdouch then requested a recount, which was completed this week, Pottawattamie County Deputy Auditor Kristi Everett confirmed to Starting Line. It resulted in no change in her votes and one vote less for Turek, or 3,403, meaning he’s still the winner but by six votes instead of seven.

Abdouch, a Republican election denier, has previously insisted that “the 2020 election was stolen” and President Joe Biden was “not the president,” but said on her campaign’s Facebook page she accepted her own race’s outcome.

“The final recount results are in and unfortunately I lost by six votes,” she wrote. “It was a great run, and I am so grateful to each and every one of you who supported me.”

Turek, a Democrat, is a former Paralympic gold medal basketball player.

District 20 covers Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in western Iowa.

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Turek told Starting Line last week he expected he would have done the same in Abdouch’s position given the “razor-thin margin,” but that he had “complete faith” in the election and in election workers, and expected the recount wouldn’t change the outcome.

“I think that this election should reiterate to people that your vote does matter, and every vote matters,” he said.

In the meantime, he celebrated his victory.

“I’m humbled and honored to be elected as the next State Representative for House District 20!” he wrote on his campaign Facebook page. “This was not won alone, and I was blessed to have the support and help of so many people.”

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The district is split almost perfectly evenly between Democrats and Republicans, with 4,841 registered Republicans, 4,782 registered Democrats and an additional 4,624 No Party voters.

Like other Democratic candidates across the state, Turek’s biggest showing came in absentee ballots, where he more than doubled up on Abdouch, 1,123 to 540, according to the official results. Election Day results otherwise favored Abdouch in all but one of the 17 precincts.

Iowa Republicans’ early vote numbers collapsed this year, with far fewer registered Republicans utilizing the vote-by-mail absentee option, likely in part to former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories on the topic.

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by Amie Rivers
11/18/22 (updated 11/22/22)

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Have a story idea for me? Email amie at iowastartingline.com. I’m also available by text, WhatsApp and Signal at (319) 239-0350, or find me on TwitterTikTokInstagram and Facebook.

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  • Amie Rivers

    Amie Rivers is Starting Line's community editor, labor reporter and newsletter snarker-in-chief. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; now, she very much enjoys making TikToks and memes. Send all story tips and pet photos to [email protected] and sign up for our newsletter here.

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