Several elections in Marshall, Tama counties decided by write-in votes

T-R PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER — In several of the smaller communities around Marshall and Tama counties — and even in one school election — write-in candidates won city council, mayoral and school board seats. In a few instances, they even beat out declared candidates.

AREA — While the local spotlight shone on a pair of high profile city council races in Marshalltown and bond issues for the BCLUW school district and the city of State Center, several city and school races in smaller communities around Marshall and Tama counties were decided by write-in votes due to a lack of formally declared candidates.


In Clutier, all six elected members of the city’s government serve two-year terms. No individuals filed for election this year by the September deadline.

Linda Pearson won the mayor’s race with 35 write-in votes. Four other individuals each received one vote apiece including Joseph Stacey, Wayne Benson, Arden Cross, and Phillip Breja.

The five city council seats were won by Katherine Seye with 32 votes, Carley Bolhuis with 27 votes, Sue Kupka with 24 votes, Dianna Cowan with 20 votes, and Emma Winkelpleck with 13 votes.

The oath of office for the new all-female council was scheduled to take place on Monday, Dec. 4 at City Hall during the next council meeting.


In Garwin, no one filed to run for the two-year term council vacancy. Rick Raymond was declared the winner by write-in with 13 votes. Eighteen other individuals each received one write-in vote apiece.


In Gilman, Les Meyers was elected mayor with 43 write-in votes and defeated two declared candidates — incumbent Phil Summers, who received 25 votes, and Andrew Nott, who received 14 votes. Meyers will now replace Summers.


In Haverhill, Maggie Stalzer won an at-large seat on the city council with 12 write-in votes, and Shirley Faircloth won a seat to fill a vacancy with just two votes. Stalzer bested incumbent (and declared candidate) Vicky Daters, who received 11 votes.


In Laurel, Josh Overstake won an at-large city council seat with just three votes, and six other individuals received at least one vote in a nailbiter of a contest.

Le Grand

In Le Grand, Jodi Abrahams won the mayor’s seat to fill the vacancy left by Shane Sweitzer’s department with 47 write-in votes, and Troy Underhill (27 votes) and Judy Cecak (25 votes) won seats on the city council as write-in candidates. Underhill was an incumbent and did not file to run for re-election. Abrahams also received four write-in votes for a city council seat.


In Liscomb, Mike Hayes and Pam McDonald won seats on the city council with 34 and 32 write-in votes, respectively, and actually managed to beat out declared candidates Justin Love, Larry (Ben) Olson and Megan Love, who received 22, 20 and 17 votes, respectively. Olson was an incumbent on the council.


In the City of Tama, three council seats were up for election this cycle for four-year terms. Only two candidates filed nomination papers including incumbent Larry Thomas and newcomer Danny Robinson who won their respective races.

The third seat was won by Michelle Jimenez with 32 write-in votes. According to deputy clerk Sierra Berger, Jimenez has accepted the seat and will be sworn in during a January 2024 council meeting alongside Thomas and Robinson.

Behind Jimenez, both Shayna Zmolek and Marty Hardon received five votes apiece.

St. Anthony

In St. Anthony, Galen Davis (seven votes) and Troy Tinius (six votes) were elected to the city council. They were the only candidates to receive write-in votes there.


As in previous election cycles, all six seats for Vining city government were up for election with zero individuals filing to run by the September deadline.

Jeff Vore won the race for mayor with seven write-in votes. Incumbent Mayor Steve Rouse received two votes.

The winners of the Vining City Council seats were Fred Vore with seven votes, Jim Griggs and Daryl Bazal who had six votes each, and Shaye Betz and Janice Bazal who each garnered five write-in votes apiece.

Union school board

The Union school board had four seats up for election on Nov. 7 including seats in District 1, District 3, District 4, and At-Large.

No candidate filed nomination papers for the District 1 race again this election cycle. The seat encompasses portions of the Black Hawk County precinct Big Creek/Spring Creek/La Porte City including the city of La Porte as well as the immediate surrounding area bordered by Kober Road to the west and East Eagle Road to the north, while roughly following the Cedar River to King Road in the east. The Black Hawk-Benton county line provides the district’s southern boundary.

Through 2023, the seat was held by incumbent Brandon Paine who declined to run again.

But in a plot twist, Paine was sworn in for a new term during last Tuesday’s board meeting in Dysart after winning the seat this time around by write-in with six votes.

Behind Paine was Randy (sic) Brodigan with four votes – Brodigan does not live in District 1.

After mulling the decision, Paine accepted the seat that evening, board secretary Diane Roberts said, and was sworn in alongside incumbent board member Ben Schemmel and newcomer Carly McGivern who were both running unopposed for their respective districts.

McGivern takes over for past board member Jenna Scott who declined to run this election after serving eight years (two terms) on the board.

Incumbent board member Corey Lorenzen – also running unopposed – will be sworn in before the next board meeting.


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