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Lee County "Swaps" Prosecutors

Jason Parrott
District Court Judge John Wright administers the oaths of office to County Attorney Clinton Boddicker (L) and 1st Assistant County Attorney Ross Braden Tuesday morning

The two highest-ranking members of the Lee County Attorney's office officially traded jobs this week, making Clinton Boddicker the county's third lead prosecutor in 2017.

District Court Judge John Wright administered the oath of office to Boddicker during Tuesday's Lee County Board meeting. Boddicker won a special election on May 2 over then County Attorney Ross Braden by more than 700 votes.

“Well, it’s an awesome responsibility,” said Boddicker. “I am looking forward to serving. It’s a responsibility that kind of hits home once you take the oath of office.”

Wright then swore in Braden as First Assistant County Attorney, the position held by Boddicker for roughly a decade. Boddicker said he asked Braden to replace him because they had worked well together the past few months.

“I’m very appreciative of that and thankful that I still will be able to serve the people of Lee County in that regard,” said Braden. “Like I said before, I always wanted to be a prosecutor so this allows me to remain in that office.”

Braden and Boddicker said they had been working on the possible transition of power even prior to the special election.

Braden said he expects to continue working in Fort Madison while Boddicker heads the office in Keokuk. Boddicker said he is looking into caseloads to determine if changes are needed when it comes to who handles cases between them and the two part-time county attorneys, Bruce McDonald and Mio Santiago.


Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
Mike Short stepped down as County Attorney this year after roughly 40 years in office.

The chain of events that led to Boddicker’s election as county attorney started in early January 2017 when Mike Short announced that he was retiring after nearly 40 years in office.

Short handed over the duties of the office to Boddicker and even recommended Boddicker as his replacement. But the county board went a different direction.

Boddicker and Braden, who was working as a defense attorney at the time, both applied to replace Short, along with Amy Christen, an assistant public defender in Scott County, Iowa.

The board focused its attention on Boddicker and Braden while debating the appointment, eventually settling on Braden by a 3-2 vote. Braden expected to serve out the nearly two years remaining in Short's term.

Instead, the county board scheduled the health department's $2.6 million bond referendum for May 2. Since it would be a countywide vote, state law required the attorney's race be placed on the ballot, leading to Boddicker's victory.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.