Sand, a Democrat, drew about 20 voters to a campaign event Tuesday evening in Burlington.

If Democrats are looking for signs of a blue wave, a 35-year-old's campaign event Tuesday evening in Burlington might be the proof they need.

Rob Sand, running for state auditor against an incumbent Republican, attracted about 20 people to the Uptown Ivy for a meet-and-greet. The local diner, which hosts scores of candidates every election cycle from both political parties, has seen presidential candidates attract less of a crowd.

Sand, an assistant attorney general from Decorah, keeps his initial pitch simple when explaining to voters what the state auditor's office does. Its staff investigates public corruption cases, Sand explains, and conducts governmental audits.

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Auditor Mary Mosiman, 56, was appointed by former Gov. Terry Branstad in 2013.

Since Mosiman took office, Sand argues she has minimized Iowa's financial woes — calling the budget "balanced, stable and responsible" — and failed to aggressively investigate corruption cases and has not saved the state money.

"We're in a budget crisis," Sand said Tuesday in an interview with The Hawk Eye, noting the more than $100 million the state borrowed in 2017 to balance its budget. "We're in a bad position right now and we have to acknowledge that if we're going to fix it. That's the thing, if your watchdog's not barking, you don't know that you should be looking out for something."

State auditors often describe themselves as the "taxpayers' watchdog," a slogan Sand has revamped for his own use, telling Iowans it's "time to wake-up the watchdog" and put someone in office who will look out for the state's best interests, regardless of party affiliation.

"I may be a Democrat, but if you consider yourself conservative, you want to save taxpayer money, then I am the one you should be voting for in this race," Sand said at the Ivy. "Your choice is this: you can have the incumbent who doesn't lift a finger to try and make government more efficient in Iowa, or you could have me, who's excited to do that. I think the choice is easy."

Though most voters would not know his name off-hand, they may know the fraud case he prosecuted for the attorney general's office, resulting in the conviction of an Iowa man who carried out the largest lottery rigging scandal in history.

"I think when you look at that story, you get the idea that I don't quit," Sand said. "I keep asking questions until I'm satisfied that I understand the whole truth."

From the time Sand's boss placed the case file on his desk in 2014 to the day Eddie Tipton plead guilty last summer, he didn't let up on the mystery of the unclaimed $16.5 million lottery ticket until he was able to put Tipton behind bars for rigging five jackpots in five different states.

"I think Iowans need someone in the state auditor's office who is going to do the same thing, who is doing to say, we deserve answers to questions," Sand said.

Sand had no opponent in the June 5 primary election, but garnered 61,341 more votes than Mosiman, who also ran unopposed. The two will meet Nov. 6 on the general election ballot.