Head of Johnson County Dems running for county supervisor

Carberry said he will soon likely step down as chairman

Gregg Hennigan
Published: December 19 2013 | 10:59 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:04 am in
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For the second election in a row, the head of the Johnson County Democrats is seeking a seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors.

But this time it’s a different person, and he’s hoping for a different outcome.

Mike Carberry, a consultant to environmental organizations, announced this week that he is a candidate for county supervisor. Party primary elections will be held in early June, with the nominees moving on to November’s general election.

Carberry, 52, of 2029 Friendship St. in Iowa City, has been chair of the county Democrats since earlier this year, when he took over for Terry Dahms.

Dahms was the Democratic candidate in a special supervisors election in March but lost to Republican John Etheredge. It was the first time since 1958 that a Republican was elected a Johnson County supervisor.

Carberry, who sought the Democratic nomination that went to Dahms, will try to unseat Etheredge, whose partial term is up at the end of 2014. Carberry and other members of his party said in March they were too complacent.

“I’m not going to be asleep at the switch,” he said Thursday. “I’m already working hard on this campaign.”

The other seat up for election next year is occupied by Janelle Rettig, the chairwoman of the five-member Board of Supervisors and a Democrat, who has said she intends to run again.

In a news release Carberry said he would promote sustainable growth, protect agricultural land from residential development, support mental health funding and work to reform the use of tax increment financing.

He also said he would seek upgrades to the county courthouse but did not mention the jail. Voters twice in the past year have struck down bond referendums to pay for a facility with a new jail and court space, with much of the opposition related to the jail.

Carberry said the courthouse and jail needs are great, but with the lack of success at the polls, he supports doing something with the courthouse first and seeing how expanded space there affects the need for more jail beds. That is something county leaders are discussing.

“I think we need to take a new track,” he said.

Carberry said he likely will step down soon as chairman of the Johnson County Democrats.

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