Iowa Election Summary - 2005

Iowa Democrats won several surpising victories in mayoral races around the state, and 17 cities voted to establish municipally owned telecommunications utilities.  However, the municipal electric utility in Iowa City went down to a crushing defeat.  Here are the details from around the state:

Cedar Rapids

Voters had decided in an earlier referendum to change the form of the city's government, so every race on the ballot was wide open this time.  Kay Halloran, a Democrat and former state legislator won the race for mayor, recapturing this office from the Republicans.  (In Iowa, all municipal elections are non-partisan, but we know who is who.)  The shape of the new city council remains uncertain, since 36 candidates ran for the 8 available seats, and 4 seats will be decided in a runoff next month.

North Liberty

Dave Franker won a stunning write-in campaign for mayor of this fast-growing city.  Dave is a rocking Democrat, and former school board member, who ran for Congress last year in the second district.  (Note that many of the early newspaper reports were wrong about this race - see the Johnson County Auditor's office for official results.)

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Other Mayors

In Dubuque, Roy Buol, a strong union man, beat an energy company executive.  Ed Winborn won in Davenport, Ann Campbell won in Ames and Tim Hurley was returned to office in Waterloo.  

Telecom Utilities

Seventeen cities voted to establish municipal telecom utilities, which can provide phone, cable and internet services.  This list includes Dubuque, Waterloo and Mason City.  However, 15 cities voted no, including Marion, Hiawatha and Carlisle.  Qwest and MediaCom spent over one million dollars opposing these measures, so I am generally happy with the results.

Iowa City Electric Utility

A local Iowa City group, Citizens for Public Power, proposed creating a municipal electric utility by taking over the operations of MidAmerican Energy.  If they had been successful, this would have been one of the largest municipalizations of the last 10 years; however they were outspent by 25-1, so it wasn't surprising that they lost by a 2-1 margin. The key factor in the race was organised labor, who joined MidAmerican in opposition because the electricians were worried about possibly losing their pensions.  Turnout was a record high 29%, and so many No voters came to the polls that they enabled a conservative councilman to squeak back into office after a weak showing in the primary.  Fortunately a great liberal, Amy Correia won the other at-large council seat, and replaced a retiring conservative.

Des Moines

Voters passed the largest annexation in the state's history to expand the city to the east and south.

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