Dennis Guth and Bob Jennings are the types of guys that you might see together in a diner, their coffee cups spewing dialogue-balloon-shaped steam puffs on any given crisp, Iowa morning.
They share a lot of values. Iowa values. And like a lot of Iowans, they agree to disagree.
District 4 voters tended to agree somewhat more with Guth this Tuesday, though, when they gave him 15,828 votes with 14,116 going to Jennings. Guth replaces former District 4 state senator Jack Kibbie who is retiring this year. Kibbie, from Emmetsburg, couldn't have run anyway, at least not without moving, since Palo Alto County is now part of District 1 that hugs the Minnesota border all the way to South Dakota.
Guth's win was much closer in Emmet County where he just edged out Jennings by 43 votes.
"That was a very pleasant surprise for me," Guth said of his win in Emmet County. That compares with a little over 60 percent in his home Hancock County along with Wright County to the south. Jennings, as would be expected, took Kossuth County since he lives in Algona.
"I was happy getting what I did out of Kossuth County considering that's his county," Guth said of Jennings.
So what was Guth's strategy for winning?
"To make sure that I'm always telling the truth, to stand behind the principles I believe in and to knock on a lot of doors," said Guth, who farms near Klemme.
And that wasn't easy in Emmet County where it was 88 miles or a two-hour commute - each way - to Estherville.
"I found some great people there," said Guth.
So what are some of Guth's core issues?
Well, he sees reducing commercial property tax as an important one.
"We have got to get the commercial property tax back in line," said Guth, noting that Iowa's is fourth-highest in the nation.
He also wants to reduce regulations that keep businesses from developing. And, along the same line, he would like to see the DNR work more as an ally than as an adversary to agriculture.
Guth hopes to work with both houses to see a marriage amendment passed that could be brought before the people.
Above all, he wants to thank those who supported him.
"I've got some great people there in Estherville to thank," Guth said. "I just want to thank everybody for getting out and voting. That shows that people are caring. It's going to take bipartisanship to get things done."
Jennings said he wanted to congratulate Guth on his win.
"I think our campaign was respectful to each other and I wish him the best," Jennings said, particularly thanking his wife Marlys in his bid for District 4 senator. "It's been a great experience," Jennings said of the campaign.
Formerly news director for KLGA in Algona, Jennings is information director for Algona Municipal utilities in addition to his position as District 7 trustee for Iowa Lakes Community College.
"I think Dennis and I had a respectful race," Jennings said. "I wish him well."