There's a lot of negativity surrounding the Democratic primary campaign for Johnson County auditor.
But challenger Travis Weipert says that comes from the press, not him.
"A lot of that is how the media wansts to portray it," said Weipert, who is challenging Auditor Tom Slockett in next month's primary. "When I do an interview, my job is just to let people know who I am and and what I'm for and that's what I've been focusing on. I want people to know my resume is good enough for that office."
Slockett has faced plenty of criticism in recent months. From The Gazette:
The allegations include Slockett using his county email account for campaign-related work, circulating his re-election petition at work and pressuring employees to sign it, using his work phone to talk with campaign supporters, and changing a policy in a way that made it easier for a supporter to get the voter-registration record of Travis Weipert, his opponent in the Democratic primary.
A state board eventually decided not to punish Slockett for one of those allegations, but the negative media attention has persisted.
But Weipert says he's still trying to focus on his experience, rather than Slockett's missteps. The Tiffin resident got into politics as a legislative page in high school. He later earned a business degree and has worked as an accountant at AEGON.
Weipert said his first goal as auditor is to boost the office's morale.
"The turnover right now has been enormous. It costs a lot of money to hire and retrain these people each year, so that's the number one prioirty is stability," he said.
Additionally, Weipert said he wants to work with other county departments to find cost-saving moves.
"I will be working with other departments more and see what we can do resources-wise," he said. "Maybe there's something we're duplicating and we'll see where we're crossing over and see if we can straighten that out to save the taxpayers money."
Slockett has served as the auditor since 1977 in a county where Democratic incumbents rarely see challengers. Still, Weipert has garnered support from some high-profile local politicos. State Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville) chairs Weipert's campaign and county supervisors Rod Sullivan and Janelle Rettig are on the campaign committee.
"It's been a struggle. Tom has his core supporters. We also have ours," Weipert said. "I've been trying to stay positive and get out there and introduce myself to people and let people know who I am and what I'm about."