Warren County residents want a special election to vote for a new county auditor after it came to light that newly appointed auditor David Whipple has a history of promoting conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the 2020 election.
In Iowa, county auditors oversee elections.
Whipple, who has no experience in government, was appointed to serve as auditor by the three-member Warren County Board of Supervisors during a special meeting on June 6. His term expires Dec. 31, 2024.
Besides Whipple’s lack of experience, Warren County residents and the county’s Democratic Party became more concerned with his appointment after they became aware of Whipple’s since-deleted social media posts where he shared various conspiracy theories about the election, QAnon, and even the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
Screenshots of Whipple’s conspiratorial posts were shared with Starting Line.
On Jan. 6, 2021, Whipple wrote “If u haven’t seen it yet…. If you didn’t know…. If in 2019 u thought it was a conspiracy, but 2020 woke u up…U better watch this” while sharing a post to a documentary titled “Nine Eleven.”
The film’s official synopsis is “Most people agree, on the morning of September 11th, 2001, something just didn’t add up. The official story is beyond laughable. Watch here for the truth.” The nearly 20-minute film opens with allegations that news broadcasts used computer graphics to show planes crashing into the World Trade Center.
In a post from Nov. 6, 2020—four days after the general election that pitted President Joe Biden against former President Donald Trump—Whipple shared a vote questioning Minnesota’s vote count that ended with “#StopTheSteal.”
On Nov. 9, Whipple himself wrote “Joe admits MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD during brain fart. SHARE before fb takes it down!”
On Jan. 2, 2021—four days before Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol building—Whipple wrote “The line in the sand is near” in a post that linked back to an article titled “Q – The Plan to Save the World REMASTERED,” about the Qanon conspiracy theory.
“At first, I thought they just picked somebody totally unqualified, and then more and more just seems to be coming out about him,” said Warren County Dems Chair Jim Culbert.
Whipple was selected over deputy auditor Kim Sheets, who already serves as an election clerk in the office and who was personally recommended by former auditor Tracy Vanderlinden. Vanderlinden retired in May and Sheets had worked under her since 2016.
According to an Indianola Advocate article, Warren County Supervisors went with Whipple over Sheets because they like his leadership style and they also had some issues with how Vanderlinden operated the office including payroll problems, and they held that against Sheets.
To trigger a special election for county auditor, Warren County residents need a petition signed by 2,409 eligible voters who reside there, although organizers are shooting for a higher amount of signatures.
Culbert, the local Democratic Party chair, said they will host petition drives from 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. on Saturday at parks in Warren County’s three largest cities. The locations are as follows:
- Brownie Park, 805 Cherry Parkway, Norwalk
- Lindhart Park, 1005 S. Fifth St., Carlisle
- Memorial Park, 602 N. G St., Indianola
In a statement to an Indianola radio station, Warren County GOP Chair Steve Kirby accused Warren County Democrats of being politically motivated in their attempt to trigger a special election since the appointee is a Republican as are all three county supervisors who appointed him. Sheets, the other candidate for the post, is a Democrat, as was Vanderlinden, the former auditor. Kirby also said he supported the supervisors’ selection and questioned the cost of the special election.
Culbert says the $75,000-$100,000 projected price tag Kirby mentioned was higher than any other special election in the county’s history, but also noted it would be worth the cost to maintain election integrity in Warren County.
“County auditor is an [elected] position that requires its office holder to be completely non-partisan in conducting their duties,” Culbert said. “It is crucial the auditor serves all the people. They run our elections. They have to be totally professional, non-partisan, and above reproach.
“Now the Republicans are telling everyone that we are just mad that they chose a Republican,” he continued. “Expecting competence is not a partisan issue. Transparency is not a partisan issue. Trust is not a partisan issue. All we are asking for is a chance for the voters to decide.”
by Ty Rushing
To contact Senior Editor Ty Rushing for tips or story ideas, email him at email@example.com or find him on social media @Rushthewriter.
Iowa Starting Line is part of an independent news network and focuses on how state and national decisions impact Iowans’ daily lives. We rely on your financial support to keep our stories free for all to read. You can contribute to us here. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.