Political News

Ex-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack wins $150,000 in state lottery

Posted February 10, 2020 2:39 p.m. EST

— The Iowa Democratic Party may be waiting for a recanvass before certifying the results of this year's Iowa caucuses, but at least one Democrat in the state is stepping forward as a winner: former Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, who has claimed a $150,000 prize in the Iowa lottery.

Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary during the Obama administration and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential bid in November, told the Iowa Lottery Blog he purchased the ticket at a Waukee Hy-Vee ahead of a January 22 Powerball drawing, but forgot to check if he won for 10 days. He had to convince his wife, Christy Vilsack, that he actually won.

"I said, 'Geez, honey, actually I won $150,000,'" Vilsack told the Iowa Lottery Blog. "She said, 'No you didn't!' I said, 'No, look at this.' And I gave her the ticket. She looked at the numbers and she said, 'Go next door to Jess (the couple's eldest son) and have him read the numbers and make sure you're looking at this right.' I said, 'I put it in the system here! It's telling me I won $150,000!'"

As for his winnings, Vilsack told the blog he will donate a portion of his winnings to his church, St. Boniface Catholic Church in Waukee.

"And the kids are going to get a little bit because you always try to help your kids out," Vilsack said. "And then the rest is going to go to my banker. And he's going to be very pleased to get it. Because we still have an outstanding mortgage from many years ago and this will help pay it down to the point where retirement can be a little bit more comfortable than it might have otherwise been."

Matt Strawn, the Iowa Lottery CEO, was pictured presenting the check to Vilsack. He also has a tie to Iowa presidential history as well: he was a former state Republican Party chairman who lost his job after it was initially declared in 2012 that Mitt Romney won the caucuses, only for it to be revealed days later that Rick Santorum received more votes.

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