Mims, Botchway, Dickens win Iowa City council seats

Winners include two incumbents, one newcomer; several key issues facing new council

Two incumbents and a newcomer came out on top when all of the Iowa City precincts reported election results for city council races Tuesday night.

Incumbent Susan Mims, 56, a financial planner, and Kingsley Botchway II, who is deputy commissioner of elections, 28, came out on top of candidates Catherine Champion, 47, a retail clothing store owner, and Rockne Cole, 38. a lawyer, in an at-large race.

Incumbent Terry Dickens, 58, a jewelry store owner, defeated challenger Royceann Porter, 47, a civil rights activist, to claim the district B seat.

The official canvass of votes is next Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Several key projects and issues are waiting in the wings for the new council. Terms begin in early January.

The new council will need to grapple with growth issues such the cityís use of tax incentives to support development, as well as the size and scope of construction, both downtown and on the outskirts.

These discussion will affect looming projects such as the Riverfront Crossing redevelopment just south of downtown, redeveloping Towncrest on the east side of Iowa City and a controversial high rise proposal on the east side of downtown.

Diversity emerged as a key issue during the campaign. Topics such as affordable housing, disproportionate arrests of minorities and more diverse representation throughout the city, will continue to drive discussion.

Also ahead, the council will have decide how to proceed with the Gateway Project, a flood mitigation project that would elevate Dubuque Street, one of the main access points to Iowa City. The project is contested by nearby residents, who say the project is excessive.

Those elected will join sitting city council members on Nov. 25 for a preliminary strategic planning session. Adopting a two-year strategic plan will be one of the new councilís first big tasks.

Dickens earned 58 percent of the vote or 5,187 votes over Porter's 3,579 votes or 40 percent. Mims received 4,614 votes or 42 percent. Botchway earned 41 percent of the vote or 4,503 votes. Champion earned 38 percent of the vote or 4,119 votes. Cole earned 33 percent of the vote or 3,616 votes.

Of the city's 48,817 registered voters, 10,928 voted Tuesday for a turnout of 22.39 percent.

Turnout was driven in part by an effort to repeal the law that bans those younger than 21 from bars after 10 p.m. The so-call 21-only law was previously on the ballot and supported in 2010, and on the ballot and rejected in 2007.In the last city election in 2011, 6,968 people or 13.6 percent of registered voters participated. In 2007, the last time the Iowa City ballot included city council and 21-only elections, 34.3 percent of registered voters or 15,728 people voted.

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