DES MOINES, Iowa — A hearing for the challenge to Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver’s (R) residency took place on Wednesday.
The hearing was open to the public at the Polk County Election Office. Sen. Whitver’s residency came into question when his opponent, Matt Pries (D), said he heard the concerns of Whitver actually living in the district. Whitver’s team provided to WHO 13 News copies of his redacted driver’s license. a homestead tax credit change and a record of owning the property since 2019.
Whitver last ran for office in Ankeny, but with redistricting, he decided to run in Iowa Senate District 23.
“Senator Whitver falsely claimed that he lives in Grimes, he fraudulently completed his voter registration,” said Ann Gale, a Grimes voter that challenged Whitver’s residency. “The citizens of Iowa Senate District 23 deserve to be represented by somebody who lives in the district.”
Gale’s legal team submitted into evidence utility bills that hadn’t started seeing an increase in usage until a couple months ago; and Whitver’s social media pages listing “Ankeny” as his home address. Gale’s team also had a witness that knocked on Whitver’s Ankeny address and spoke to Whitver’s wife.
“And I asked if she was planning on voting for our candidate. She asked if he was a Republican and I said ‘no’, and she said ‘we only vote for Republicans,’ and I said ‘okay,’ and then I asked if her and her family still live at the address and she said ‘yes we do,” said Emma Weinert, a Todd Brady Campaign Volunteer.
Whitver’s counsel doesn’t deny that that Whitver’s family lives in Ankeny but say that he resides in Grimes at night. The counsel also says that utility bills and usage don’t prove whether or not Whitver followed state constitutional law.
“That’s an issue for Jack Whitver and his spouse, that is not an issue for the government to step in and say ‘why did you move and the wife and kids live somewhere else,’ “said Charlie Smithson, Sen. Whitver’s Legal Counsel. “…I think it shows that there was one thousand gallons used in September, more in the next month. Frankly, how many showers a person takes or how much water you use is a little silly for this thing, but there was usage.”
Smithson provided Apple Maps locations of Whitver at the Grimes residence at night, along with photos of packages delivered to Whitver at the Grimes address.
Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald and a Polk County Attorney will decide the case based on the evidence presented. Either party can appeal the ruling up to the Polk County District Court, where that ruling would be final.