CEDAR FALLS — Rob Green has unseated Mayor Jim Brown to take the reins in City Hall next year.
But two of the three Cedar Falls City Council seats up for grabs Tuesday will be heading to runoff elections next month.
Unofficial results show Green, an at-large councilman and University of Northern Iowa employee, won 54.7 percent of the votes in the three-way race for mayor.
Green had 4,623 votes to outpace the two-term incumbent Brown, who received 3,482 votes. Retired UNI professor Jim Skaine received 328 votes.
“I didn’t expect this much of a win,” said Green, who assumed he’d be making a concession speech or preparing for a runoff when the polls closed. “It seems like a really big gap.”
While the Cedar Falls municipal campaigns were heavy on discussion about the city’s controversial public safety officer program, which utilizes cross-trained police officers and firefighters, Green said he didn’t believe that was the reason for his victory.
Brown was a strong advocate of the PSO program. Green said he was open to discussing the program but never vowed to abolish it.
“I have to think it’s way more than just the one-issue voters, that it’s more of a general belief that the tone of government needed to change,” Green said. “I didn’t promise anything in my campaign.”
Green said he expects to begin meeting with stakeholders and groups in the city before moving in to the mayor’s office in January.
Brown did not immediately return calls for comment.
Nick Taiber and Dave Sires will be squaring off in a Dec. 3 runoff election for the at-large Cedar Falls council seat being vacated by Dave Wieland, because none of the three candidates earned more than 50 percent of the votes cast.
Taiber was the top choice, with 3,171 votes, followed by Sires and Nate Didier with 2,635 and 2,229 votes respectively.
“I am thrilled to be the top vote-getter,” Taiber said. “I’m excited to be in the race and to have this dialog with the citizens about moving our city forward.”
Taiber was a supporter of the PSO program while Sires was an advocate for separate police and fire departments.
“I think both of us are multi-issue candidates,” Taiber said.
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Sires said he planned to continue his message about public safety and having Cedar Falls maintain its own wastewater treatment plant.
“One to round two,” Sires said. “Thank you to Mr. Didier and his family for both his service to our country and his willingness to put his name on the ballot.”
Ward 4 council
Ward 4 voters will also return to the polls for a runoff election after incumbent Tom Blanford fell just shy of the majority needed to win the race outright.
Blanford received 48.7 percent, or 450 votes, compared to 373 votes for Simon Harding and 97 votes for Fred Perryman. That puts Blanford and Harding in a runoff.
“Everybody knew this was going to be a close and competitive election,” said Blanford, who is ready for the runoff.
Both Harding and Perryman had run campaigns against the PSO program.
“It’s certainly been a factor in this race,” Blanford said. “I’m sure that did have an impact, both positive and negative.”
Harding said he is excited about the runoff campaign. He believes he has a better chance of picking up Perryman’s voters than Blanford.
“I personally knocked on hundreds of doors and talked with people,” he said. “I felt like I connected with a lot of citizens in that sense.”
Ward 2 council
Incumbent Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan deBuhr did not need a runoff to win her fifth four-year term in office.
She defeated challenger Derick Rogers, 909 to 768, in a race that also saw the two candidates diverge on the PSO program; deBuhr supported the program while Rogers said he had problems with the way it was implemented.
Along with choosing the at-large and Ward 4 council representatives next month, Cedar Falls voters may also have another election in the future. Green’s council seat will be vacated when he takes over as mayor.
The remaining council members can appoint a replacement or call for a special election to fill the remaining two year’s of Green’s term. Voters could also petition for a special election.