DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Republicans have picked a state agriculture secretary nominee, but it didn’t come easy.
Incumbent Mike Naig was selected Saturday at the Iowa GOP state convention after four rounds of voting. After each round, the bottom candidate was dropped from the ballot. In the last round, Naig topped Corning farmer Ray Gaesser.
Naig nearly won the five-candidate June 5 primary, coming up a fraction of a percentage point short of reaching the 35 percent threshold needed to secure the nomination. That left the matter to be decided at the convention, where a candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote to win.
Naig has served in the position since March after the departure of longtime agriculture secretary Bill Northey, who took a job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Naig faces Democrat Tim Gannon in the November general election.