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Mims, Dickens, and Champion victorious

BY NICOLE KARLIS | NOVEMBER 04, 2009 7:20 AM

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After months of campaigning, Terry Dickens and Susan Mims will join the Iowa City City Council in January, and Connie Champion will return.

The election saw one of the lowest turnouts in 30 years — 4,682 votes cast, according to unofficial numbers. UI student turnout was exceptionally low. For instance, only 17 votes were cast at the UI Main Library Tuesday.

City Council candidates and their support teams gathered to watch their votes add up at Blackstone Tuesday night. While at-large candidates Dickens and Mims’ votes significantly exceeded opponents Dan Tallon and Jeff Shipley, current District B councilor Champion won by a 4 percent margin over Mark McCallum.

Champion will now team up with Dickens and Mims to join a council that is facing tough financial times.

“I’m glad I won, because I totally understand the budget,” Champion said, noting that the next council can expect to face another $500,000 budget cut.

Despite her seniority on the council, she admitted that this election night was just as nerve-racking as any other. This will be her fourth term.

“I was so nervous I couldn’t watch the results,” she said.

Even after the loss, McCallum said he is willing to take a shot at another election in the future.
“I knew it was going to be very close,” he said.

Champion beat McCallum by only 172 votes.



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Council newcomer and lifelong Iowa City resident Dickens was happy to be done with his first city election. He is a co-owner of Herteen & Stocker Jewelers, 101 S. Dubuque St., his family business.

“Right now, I’m just soaking it all in,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that there will be challenges to overcome. Dickens said he is ready to face the task of hiring a new city manager and dealing with budget cuts.

Mims is also excited to use her financial background to make decisions. She has served on and was president of the Iowa City School Board. She is employed as a financial planner at Heartland Investment Associates.

Mims is also happy with the results from months of campaigning.

“I’m very pleased, but I expected a larger turnout that this,” she said.

What was also concerning for some candidates was the low student voter turnout.

With two UI students in the candidate mix, many thought student turnout would be higher.

The last City Council election, in 2007, saw an increase in student voting, which was largely attributed to the 21-ordinance being on the ballot.

Despite his loss, UI junior Tallon was optimistic about his future in politics.

“I’ll do it again,” he said.


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