FORT MADISON – Residents of Lee County sent a resounding message that, as a majority, they are happy with the direction of the city.
Residents re-elected Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld to two more years in the mayor’s chair, and re-elected Kevin Rink to the At-Large City Council seat for another four-year term.
Mohrfeld was challenged by first-time office seeker Jerry Reuther and three-time candidate Rodney Hoskins.
Rink was challenged by Jerry Hamelton for the at-large seat. Hamelton has challenged Rink before and also put his name in for appointments to council seats when vacancies have been created. However, he was never selected by the City Council to fill a seat.
Rink won all the precincts and outpaced Hamelton 587 to 330. Rink almost doubled Hamelton’s vote total in all precincts except FM 2 where Rink won 82-75.
Had the outcome been different, Rink said he would have been fine with that. But he said he made some promises to people that he wanted to see through, despite saying he was hell-bent on not running again after the last election.
“I made a promise to Chief (Joey) Herren to see that fire station started in my last term,” Rink said Tuesday night.
“I thought (the election) would be a little closer. I was pretty nervous. I told my wife 'If I’m re-elected great - if not, I served our city well'. My uncle is Ernie Schiller and he said he never slept so well the night he was defeated.”
Mohrfeld was clearly disappointed in the turnout for the election with less than 1,000 people voting Tuesday.
The two-term mayor defeated Reuther 568-293 and Hoskins 568-83. Mohrfeld won all precincts again, doubling the other candidates in all precincts and absentee voting, with the exception of FM 2 where he beat Reuther by just 20 votes, 85-65.
“It is interesting, though. Low turnout you can’t analyze. I’m wondering what exactly did all those other people vote for? My charge was things better than they were four years ago, are they not?” Mohrfeld said.
But he said the tally does show a mandate from the voters who went to the polls.
“It’s a mandate for progress, a mandate for growth, for taking a comprehensive look at tomorrow,” he said.
“The path we’re on is riddled with change. They like it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole lot of people on a beautiful November day that didn’t go vote. But we have a nice, stable council. Now we have to get a city manager hired and navigate House file 718.”
Richart Thiele will take the 1st Ward council seat running unopposed. Angela Roller (2nd Ward) and Donna Amandus (3rd Ward) both were also re-elected to the council unopposed.
In other area elections. Gary Peitz will take over for Joseph Loving as Mayor of West point. Loving didn’t seek re-election and Peitz rolled over Phillip Kruse 152-43. Bruce Wellman, Will Stuekerjuergen, Wendy Vonderhaar, Brian Meierotto, and Larry Buchholz will be seated on the West Point City Council. Vonderhaar and Buchholz are new to the council.
Josh Wykert, Amy Thacher, Keith Hehr, and Kelly Newton were all unopposed for the Fort Madison School board. Thacher led all vote getters with 1,045.
In Montrose, Matt Mullins retained his seat as Mayor, running unopposed. Mullins collected 47 votes. Jeff Junkins and Darcie Uhlmeyer both won seats on the Montrose City Council with 44 and 39 votes, respectively.
In Keokuk, Kathie Mahoney was re-elected to the mayor’s office 243-78 defeating Xai Coffman. Devon Dade defeated Christopher Dailey for the at-large council seat 220-83. Shelley Oltmans, Tyler Walker, Dan Tillman, and Roger Bryant were all re-elected unopposed. A 4th Ward write-in campaign generated 34 votes. The results of that write-in won't be available until Wednesday, according to Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise.
In Donnellson, Jeremy Marshall collected 42 votes for a city council seat, the only one on the ballot. Houghton saw Gale Thompson elected mayor with 25 votes. Jay Henrich, Terrell Wilson, Marty Bentler, Kurt Lowenberg, and Cheryl Brock won the five seats on the Houghton Council.
John Dingman won the St. Paul Mayor’s seat with 19 votes. Rod Cox, Marty Bentler, Ted Moeller, Paul Kenel, and Brent Pieper were elected to the St. Paul Council.
Matt Doty and Bill Young were elected unopposed to the Central Lee School District Board, along with Mark Hulsebus.
Seth Anderson, Laurie Mendenhall, and Kim Wyatt were elected to the Keokuk School board for three of four seats open. A write-in candidacy generated 353 votes.
Moudy Nabulsi was relected to the Southeastern Community College board district 4, while Janet Fife-LaFrenz retained her seat on the board in the 5th district.
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