Cedar Rapids residents elected yet another Republican mayor on November 30, as former television news anchor and Women Lead Change CEO Tiffany O’Donnell defeated Amara Andrews by 13,479 votes to 6,358 (67.8 percent to 32.0 percent), according to unofficial results. As is typical for runoff elections, turnout was lower today at 21.4 percent of registered voters than in the November 2 election (28.1 percent turnout).
After receiving about 42 percent of the vote on November 2, O’Donnell appears to have consolidated support from almost all residents who preferred outgoing Mayor Brad Hart. He and Andrews both received about 28 percent of the vote four weeks ago.
O’Donnell is the fifth Republican (including Hart) to be elected mayor of Iowa’s second-largest city since 1996. Only one Democrat (Kay Halloran) has won Cedar Rapids’ highest office during the same period.
While it was logical for Andrews to run as a progressive Democrat in a city that generally favors Democratic candidates, in retrospect it looks like a strategic error for her campaign to focus on her opponent’s Republican ties. For whatever reason—I’d welcome insight from locals—a lot of Democratic-leaning voters in Cedar Rapids are comfortable with Republican mayors.