Iowa Auditor Sand seeking 2nd term, won’t run for governor

December 8, 2021 GMT
FILE - Iowa Auditor Rob Sand explains results of an audit his agency conducted of the Iowa Medicaid Home Health Services program during a news conference at the Iowa Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Standing behind him are Deputy Auditor Annette Campbell, left, and Senior Auditor Melissa Finestead. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, Sand announced he’s running for re-election and not for governor as many Democrats had been hoping. (AP Photo/David Pitt, File)
FILE - Iowa Auditor Rob Sand explains results of an audit his agency conducted of the Iowa Medicaid Home Health Services program during a news conference at the Iowa Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Standing behind him are Deputy Auditor Annette Campbell, left, and Senior Auditor Melissa Finestead. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, Sand announced he’s running for re-election and not for governor as many Democrats had been hoping. (AP Photo/David Pitt, File)
FILE - Iowa Auditor Rob Sand explains results of an audit his agency conducted of the Iowa Medicaid Home Health Services program during a news conference at the Iowa Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Standing behind him are Deputy Auditor Annette Campbell, left, and Senior Auditor Melissa Finestead. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, Sand announced he’s running for re-election and not for governor as many Democrats had been hoping. (AP Photo/David Pitt, File)
FILE - Iowa Auditor Rob Sand explains results of an audit his agency conducted of the Iowa Medicaid Home Health Services program during a news conference at the Iowa Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Standing behind him are Deputy Auditor Annette Campbell, left, and Senior Auditor Melissa Finestead. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, Sand announced he’s running for re-election and not for governor as many Democrats had been hoping. (AP Photo/David Pitt, File)
FILE - Iowa Auditor Rob Sand explains results of an audit his agency conducted of the Iowa Medicaid Home Health Services program during a news conference at the Iowa Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Standing behind him are Deputy Auditor Annette Campbell, left, and Senior Auditor Melissa Finestead. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, Sand announced he’s running for re-election and not for governor as many Democrats had been hoping. (AP Photo/David Pitt, File)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, announced Tuesday he would run for re-election in 2022 and not for governor as some supporters had been urging.

Sand said in a video posted to his Twitter account that he would not challenge Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is expected to run for re-election to a second full term.

The decision leaves Democrats without a candidate who has been elected to statewide office in the race for governor. State Rep. Ras Smith of Waterloo and Des Moines businesswoman and political organizer Deidre DeJear are among those running for the party’s nomination in the June primary.

Iowa has trended sharply toward Republicans in recent years, and Reynolds is expected to be in a strong position to win re-election in November 2022.

Democrats had hoped that Sand, with his roots in the small town of Decorah, love of hunting and political brand that transcends party lines, could break their slump. Republican activists had taken note, accusing him of using his office to unfairly attack the Reynolds administration.

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Sand defeated the incumbent Republican auditor, Mary Mosiman, in his first run for statewide office in 2018, and had acknowledged he was considering a run for governor in 2022.

Sand, a 39-year-old former prosecutor of white-collar crime, said he was “really proud” of what he’s accomplished during his first four-year term as Iowa’s government watchdog and wants to continue the work.

He pointed to his decision to appoint a Democrat, a Republican and an independent to senior positions in his office and his work with local government agencies to promote innovative ways to save taxpayer money.

“Those are great things to be doing. I’m really proud to be doing them and I want to keep doing them,” he said. “So I am asking for your support in getting elected to a second term as state auditor.”

Republican Governors Association spokeswoman Maddie Anderson said in a statement the announcement shows that Iowa Democrats are “terrified to challenge Gov. Kim Reynolds.”

Also Tuesday, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig announced he would run for re-election, saying “there’s more work to be done” to help Iowa farmers. Naig was appointed to the post by Reynolds in 2018 before winning a four-year term in the election that year.