Tuesday, November 03, 2009

City Election Wrap-Up

Well, That's Over

Aaaand... just like the primary. Near-record low turnout and Susan Mims and Terry Dickens win with almost identical percentages as they had four weeks ago: 75 and 70 respectively.

It used to be progressive orthodoxy in Iowa City that the students should be represented, but I was literally alone in holding that position. The lefties found Jeff Shipley's libertarianism unpalatable, and Dan Tallon hurt himself with potential allies (Two elected officials, independently, have told me that Tallon told them he planned to run against them in the future. Word like that travels among their supporters...)

So instead lefties got behind Sara Baird's last-second write-in, and it looks like she may get the moral victory of breaking 2 percent and getting reported by name instead of as "scattering" in the final results.

It's hard to see microtrends under this deluge. Mims generally did just a little bit better than Dickens most places and Shipley just a little better than Tallon most places.

Buried under the apathy was an actual close race, where District B incumbent Connie Champion held off challenger Mark McCallum by 172 votes. This makes Champion the first person to win a fourth term since the current council format was established in 1975.

Who would have figured that Connie Champion would be the heroine of the left, but her best showings were in lefty strongholds on the north side (precinct 21) and her own Longfellow neighborhood (18). McCallum ran best in senior-dominated precinct 6, relatively high-income precinct 8, and the southeast side hotspots of precincts 12, 14 and 15. They're mad at the incumbents and Champion was the only one to vote against. McCallum's respectable showing under poor circumstances--he was recruited on the premise Champion was retiring--suggests he may be back in a couple years.

The surprise of the night came out of Coralville where 16 year incumbent Henry Herwig lost. First-timer Bill Hoeft, up and running for months, came in second behind John Lundell, with Tom Gill in third.

The Coralville Courier, blogging arm of the Ax The Tax/Flip No crowd, backed Hoeft, and Gill (an early Conservation Bond and Janelle Rettig supporter) was likely the target. But instead, ironically, the "fiscal conservative" Hoeft knocked off the business conservative Herwig. Hoeft finished first in his far-north Coralville base (precinct 6) and it looks like that cut into Herwig's support. Gill finished first in old-town Coralville (precinct 1) and Lundell led everywhere else.

Donald Baxter, our man in U Heights, writes: "Looks like the pro-density side will mostly win in University Heights. This is a good thing." The Lesotho of Johnson County saw 52 percent turnout, which is pretty darn close to the 56 percent we had countywide in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

But back on campus, Iowa City 5 at the UI library tells the story. Dan Tallon carries the precinct... and it's less than one percent turnout.

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