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DES MOINES — Deidre DeJear Tuesday won her bid to make Iowa history by becoming the first African-American nominated by a major political party for a statewide office.

With 68 of 99 counties reporting on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, DeJear, 32, of Des Moines, was leading with 51.4 percent of the ballots cast in the Democratic primary for secretary of state. Jim Mowrer, also 32 and from Des Moines, had 48.2 percent. The Associated Press called the race for DeJear.

DeJear will face Republican incumbent Paul Pate in the November general election.

Pate, 60, of Cedar Rapids, was unopposed in his re-election bid. He is seeking a third term as secretary of state after serving one term in the 1990s and being elected again in 2014.

DeJear, a Drake University graduate and a former Bankers Trust small-business loan officer who started a business that helps small-business owners, campaigned on the theme of using the Secretary of State’s Office to increase participation in elections rather than create barriers for voters.

Another priority she stressed was making the office more responsive to the needs of small-business owners.

The secretary of state’s most visible duties involve providing services for businesses and administering elections.

Mowrer, a native of Boone who works at a nonprofit and at Grand View University as an adjunct professor, was making his third bid for public office.

He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2014 against Steve King and in 2016 against David Young.

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Statehouse reporter for The Courier

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