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Hayek wins four more years on council

BY ASMAA ELKEURTI | NOVEMBER 09, 2011 7:20 AM

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The lone incumbent in this year's Iowa City City Council race easily won re-election on Tuesday night. He'll be joined on the council by two newcomers and one former city councilor.

Unofficial returns from the Johnson County Auditor's website show Mayor Matt Hayek won 60 percent of the vote in the at-large race. MidAmerican Energy employee and part-time University of Iowa student Michelle Payne won the other at-large seat, netting 38 percent of the ballots cast.

 

UI Clinical Professor Rick Dobyns won the District A race with 65 percent. UI Professor Emeritus and one-time City Councilor Jim Throgmorton ran unopposed for the District C seat. He won 95 percent of the vote.

"We worked hard for almost six months to get to today," Hayek said. "So many people were part of the campaign and put their time and effort into support. It's great to see this outcome."

Payne said she felt "exhilarated" by the outcome.

"I never expected to feel like this," she said. "We came into the race late, and to have this outcome is great."

Hayek was first elected to the council in 2007. That year, there was a 21-ordinance proposal on the ballot, bringing out many student voters. Hayek campaigned against the 21-ordinance and brought in 60 percent of the vote that year.

Three years later, Hayek was one of the city's biggest proponents of a 21 minimum bar-entry age. He cast his vote in favor of the 21-ordinance as a city councilor and, when that ordinance was challenged, he campaigned to keep it in place. Last fall, a ballot measure challenging the 21-ordinance was defeated, with 52 percent of Iowa City voters opting to keep it in place.

Hayek said he ran for re-election to provide stability for city staff.

"We have a new city manager who is off to a strong start, and I want to provide stability and support for what he is doing, and I want to see some of the direction we have pursued continue," Hayek said.

He said he feels qualified for the position.

"I have the interest and the energy to continue with the City Council for another four years," he said. "I think as a community, we are starting to move in a better direction, and I want to support that."

Fourteen percent of Iowa City voters cast their ballots in this year's election — the third lowest in the past 30 years. The 2009 city election, when 9.7 percent of registered voters made their way to polling places, was the lowest since 1970.

Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett said bad weather and other factors curbed voter turnout.

"This is anecdotal information that I have heard people speculate about. The bad weather is an obvious factor. It's discouraging to people," he said. "Another possibility is that the voters feel confident that the people who they want to win are going to win and that they don't need to intervene or participate, or they don't have high concern about somebody else winning."


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