November 5, 2014

Glidden Republican Brian Best Tuesday night won a seat in the Iowa House, ousting two-term incumbent State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer, a Manilla Democrat.

Best captured 55 percent of the vote in House District 12 to Muhlbauer’s 45 percent. Best carried Carroll County with 56 percent of the vote, and won three of the four wards in the City of Carroll. Muhlbauer won the 4th Ward in the southern part of Carroll.

Best won Audubon County, while Muhlbauer, a former Crawford County supervisor, garnered more votes in the eastern part of that county, the section in District 12.

“I’m still a little numb,” Best said shortly after the final numbers emerged. “Just the realization I’ve won after all the hard work.”

The Republican Party of Iowa invested nearly $500,000 in Best’s campaign, much of it on television commercials in the Des Moines market and a barrage of mailers.

Best said he had a strong ground game as well.

“I had so many volunteers,” he said.

Best said the heavy spending from outside of the district on his election won’t distract his focus on the people of the three counties in House District 12.

“I’m a representative of the district,” Best said. “I’m not going to go down there as a person who is owned by anybody.”

Carroll County Republican Party Chairman Craig Williams of Manning said comments Muhlbauer made in a Daily Times Herald interview after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, clearly hurt the Democrat’s re-election bid.

Muhlbauer suggested banning and confiscating certain firearms, but later walked back the remarks, saying he was a gun owner who was responding emotionally as a grandfather while watching footage of the rampage’s aftermath.

“I think Dan hurt himself quite a bit,” Williams said.

Williams said the GOP’s spending on Best proved a wise investment.

“One person in the House or the Iowa Senate can make a lot of difference,” Williams said.

Carroll Country Democratic Party Co-Chairman Tim Tracy said the big money behind Best should concern his soon-to-be constituents.

“The Republican Party spent over $120 per vote in Carroll County on one single Iowa House seat — and just barely won,” Tracy said. “The proliferation of dark money and unaccountable millionaire campaign spending will continue to be the largest threat to our one-person, one-vote system of government until you, the people, demand that the current system is changed.”

Muhlbauer had not returned a phone call seeking comment on the election’s outcome as of press time.