OTTUMWA — In one of the races to have solid results available Tuesday night, former assistant county attorney Reuben Neff will be moving back into Wapello County Attorney’s Office — this time, he'll be the boss.

The race saw a former employee and his former boss clash. Gary Oldenburger, the Wapello County Attorney, fall behind former assistant Reuben Neff Tuesday night.

Republican party chair Trudy Caviness said Neff had been putting in long hours daily, up to 10 hours knocking on doors. He took 60 percent of the votes.

“The county was very receptive,” said Neff. “Most people we talked to were very responsive. But even the people who didn’t want to talk to me, they weren’t too bad about it. I guess we knew Iowa has nice people.”

There are also some criminals: Neff said he needs to immediately check court records and law enforcement files to see what's been going on while he's been out of the office.

"Those are cases I have to take over," he said. "I need to jump in, prepared, and there's not a lot of time [to prepare by January]."

Another aspect of the job he's been looking at: Coming up with some constructive guidelines for attorneys and staff.

"I've been compiling lists of policies from offices where [I could see they] worked," Neff said.

Senior staff writer Mark Newman can be contacted at


Born in New England, reporter Mark Newman has lived in Iowa and Nebraska over 20 years, with 12 years as a Courier staff writer. He covered education news, but is now focusing on social issues as well as feature stories of local interest.