CLINTON, Iowa – Eric Van Lancker announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination in the 2022 race for Iowa Secretary of State. He is currently serving his fourth term as Clinton County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections.
Van Lancker, in a news release, said his focus has been on “protecting the vote through improved election administration.”
“I have a lot of passion for helping my neighbors vote, backed up by experience and an understanding of how to run elections the right way,” he said in a released statement. “Iowans have never needed a voting advocate more than they do at this moment.”
Van Lancker served as president of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors in 2014. He also served on the organization’s state election training curriculum committee, including as chairman and a lead trainer.
“Voters pay for the election system and they deserve to have leadership that builds confidence in the system of undermining it for short-term political points,” he added. “It is long past time for a County Auditor to return to the Secretary of State’s office. Iowa voters deserve a state commissioner of elections who knows what it is like to be on the front lines of an election and has respect and knowledge of the work precinct election officials perform during an election.”
Van Lacker was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. He earned his B.A. in Communications at the University of Northern Iowa. He has lived in Clinton for 27 years with his wife of 28 years, Tanya. They have two adult children, Caitlyn and Jackson.
Should he win the nomination, he will likely challenge incumbent Republican Paul Pate, who has not announced re-election plans. Pate is serving his third term as Iowa Secretary of State and second consecutive term. He was first elected in 1994, only serving four years. He ran again in 2014, defeating Brad Anderson by less than two points, and then won re-election in 2018 by defeating Deidre DeJear by almost eight points. Pate also served as Mayor of Cedar Rapids and served two terms in the Iowa Senate. In 2020, he served as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.
He has focused on election security, including Voter ID, online voter registration, and enhanced access for overseas military voting. Pate has also focused on helping small businesses during his time in office by streamlining the process for new businesses to register and report entirely online.
Michael Mauro was the last Democrat to hold the office, serving one term before being defeated by Republican challenger Matt Schultz in 2010. He was preceded by Democrat Chet Culver, who served two terms before winning the 2006 gubernatorial election. Schultz didn’t run for re-election in 2014, opting to run for Madison County Attorney instead.