Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart Will Not Seek a Fourth Term as Recorder

(Waukee, IA) – Republican Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart announced today that he will not seek a fourth term as Dallas County Recorder in 2022.

Recorder Airhart was elected in 2010 after winning a contested primary against the then Deputy Recorder, and defeating the 22-year incumbent Recorder in the general election. Airhart’s impressive showing in 2010, fundraising ability, political acumen and record of accomplishment as Recorder kept him unopposed in the 2014 and 2018 elections. During his time as Recorder, Airhart served on the Iowa County Recorders Association (ICRA) Executive Board, served as the Legislation Liaison for ICRA, served as Chairman of the Iowa Republican County Officials Association and was the recipient of the Property Records Industry Associations Carl Ernst Scholarship in 2014, an award given to only one county elected official nationwide.

Airhart sought the office of Recorder in 2010 with the goals of modernizing the technology and streamlining the office. Today, the Recorder’s Office has digitized all of its records back to 1850, and they are all online available to the public with free access. The volume of images and data available to the public online is greater than that of any other county in Iowa. Additionally, the Recorder’s Office has digitized all of the county’s vital records (birth, death & marriage) as well as all of the military records filed in the office.

In addition to the technological advances Dallas County has made under Airhart’s leadership, one of the things he is most proud of is the fiscal standing of the office. Each year under Airhart’s leadership, the Dallas County Recorder’s office operated without using a penny of property tax dollars to fund the office. The office was self-sufficient from fees received for services; fees which were set by the Iowa Legislature in the Iowa Code. Airhart always says “you spend less than you take in.” This has been his mantra and by the end of his term will have returned over $4,000,000 to the county general fund. These are funds that the county does not have to collect in property taxes to operate other departments, and because of the fiscal management of the Recorder’s Office, the need for additional Dallas County property taxes has been reduced.

Airhart said “It’s been the honor of my life to have been elected three times to serve the people of Dallas County. I’m proud of how we have run the Recorder’s Office and what we’ve been able to accomplish. I will forever be grateful to the citizens of Dallas County for the opportunity, my colleagues that I have shared elected office with in Dallas County and throughout our great State and my staff that has worked so hard to accomplish all we have. I’m not sure that there are any other Recorder’s that have been more successful in advancing as we have.

In calendar year 2020 Dallas County recorded the third largest number of documents in the state of Iowa, behind only Polk & Linn Counties. Dallas County remains the fastest growing County in Iowa and one of the fastest growing in America. While the workload has increased greatly, the advances in technology have allowed the staff to do more with less. So, while the workload has more than doubled annually in the last 10 years, the staff size in the Dallas County Recorder’s Office is less today than it was when Airhart took office. Airhart said “I am extremely proud of the professionalism of my staff as well as the relationships with other elected officials, and how well the staffs of different offices have worked together to ensure quality customer service to the public while ensuring government works for those that need its services most.”

Airhart added that “the extremes of each of the republican and democrat parties have made it more difficult to accomplish legislative changes towards more sensible local government, which has always been a top priority for me. It has become harder and harder to find common ground in the legislature on common sense issues either because of political ideology, the political divide or special interests asserting their influence. While this is not new to the world of politics, I have watched it worsen over the past ten years and sadly what I and many others in ICRA believe is good public policy fell by the wayside time and time again. I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life wanting to get into “the room” and affect change, to effectively try to square the circle… only to sadly find out that many times a circle will always be a circle.”

Airhart would not say if he was out of politics forever. “I never ran because I wanted to make a career out of being Recorder. I feel my goals/challenges as Recorder have been met, and there is nothing more for me to accomplish here. I could run again and if elected manage the office effectively, but that is not what I want to do, nor do I feel it is fair to the citizens of the County. At only 43 years of age I’m hopeful that there is a lot of life left out there for me to do many other things, and I look forward to focusing on my family, business and whatever opportunities present themselves in the future.”

– ### –