Too close to call

Untiedt undecided on challenge; Unofficial results show Isom with razor-thin margin

Two votes.

That was a margin of victory — albeit unofficial — Gabe Isom earned over Bob Untiedt in Tuesday’s second ward special election.

Isom tallied 96 votes to Untiedt’s 94.

Untiedt told the Times-Republican late Tuesday night he would make a decision today to challenge, or not challenge the results.

“This (the results) goes to prove every vote counts,” said Marshall County Auditor/Recorder/Elections Commissioner Nan Benson.

Additionally, Benson said her office is awaiting one absentee ballot which must be returned by 8 p.m. Monday to be counted.

Jay Carollo with 90, came in a close third, with Brittany O’Shea, at 68 and Leigh Bauder 44, following.

Official results will be released after the Marshall County Board of Supervisors canvass results March 5.

A total of 393 votes were cast, representing 10.17 percent of 3,863 eligible ward voters.

The ward, which encompasses much of Marshalltown’s northwest quadrant, has been without representation on the city council since Jan. 2.

On that date then second ward councilor Joel Greer was sworn in as mayor.

The unofficial winner

“I couldn’t be more excited and thankful for the support I’ve gotten both in the second ward as well as the community in the short three weeks leading up to the election today,” said Isom in an email to the T-R. “I am looking forward to a great opportunity to serve this great community!

Isom, at 28 was the youngest of the candidates, gave wife Christine a lot of credit for the razor-thin victory if it holds up.

“One, I couldn’t have done some of the sign placement, door hanging, and social media advertising without my wonderful wife,” he said. “Secondly I have had the great privilege to meet with a number of previous council members, school board members, and other organizations throughout town, giving me a better understanding of what it will take and what I have to look forward to as I get to serve this great place I call home! It was a tight race amongst a great group of candidates and I hope to continue to work hand in hand with them and the rest of Marshalltown as I start to serve this community.”

Isom is a Kansas City native employed at Emerson Process Management/Fisher Controls.

Isom previously told the T-R he is eager and prepared to make the jump from volunteer to city councilor.

The latter being in a highly visible public setting where each decision can merit evaluation and sometimes, be hotly contested.

“I had been a ‘hands-on’ volunteer with (Marshalltown) Parks and Recreation, and I was on the original board of directors for I Give a Damn About Marshalltown (a volunteer group created in 2015 by the local Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation to improve Marshalltown’s public image, among other efforts. It counts many residents in their “20s to 40s” as members).

He threw his hat in the ring in January, shortly after the

Marshalltown city council passed a resolution calling for a special election and Benson’s office setting a Feb. 27 vote date.

The special election resolution followed a special Jan. 5 city council meeting when Bauder, Carollo, O’Shea and Untiedt were interviewed by the city council after submitting letters of application for the seat after a public solicitation by the city council.

It was the council’s expressed intent then one of the four would garner four “yes” votes from six city councilors to earn the seat.

However, at the Jan. 8 regular city council meeting, each applicant earned two votes, but not the four-vote majority.

Other candidates weigh-in

The campaign was civil, and that carried over in comments made immediately following the release of unofficial results.

“Congrats to everyone and specifically Gabe,” wrote O’Shea in an email to the T-R. “Hopefully all of our ideas and thoughts during this process have rubbed off on one another and we can see some positive steps.”

“Congratulations to Gabe and his victory,” wrote Carollo in an email to the T-R. “I’ve learned a lot, made new friends and hope the positive momentum can continue in our city.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to the T-R and KFJB for coverage.”

Carollo did say in a telephone interview Tuesday night he was disappointed more second ward residents did not turn out to vote, citing the 393 total votes cast, or 10.17 percent, in a ward where there are 3,863 registered voters.

Conversely, Benson said the 393 votes in the special election came extremely close to the 412 votes cast from the ward in the November municipal election which featured a competitive mayor race and two councilor-at-large seats.

The candidates employed tactics ranging from traditional door-knocking to yard signs to extensive social media posts.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or