116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Women Lead Change Chief Executive Officer Tiffany O’Donnell raised three times as much as her opponent, TrueNorth employee Amara Andrews, in the last month running up to Tuesday’s runoff election that will decide the city’s next mayor.
Voters earlier this month narrowed a four-way race to just the two top vote-getters, knocking incumbent Brad Hart out of the running. O’Donnell, who earned the most votes of the four but not enough to win the job outright, raised $64,520 since the last reporting period, according to campaign disclosure reports filed Monday. That exceeds the $20,262.47 Andrews raised in the runoff cycle.
In just a month, O’Donnell has raised slightly less than half the $136,770 total she raised from the period starting March through the days before the Nov. 2 city and school elections. Andrews had raised $181,440 in her bid for City Hall, according to campaign reports filed by the Oct. 28 deadline, topping the field at the time.
“I am overwhelmed with the generosity of Cedar Rapidians leading up to the runoff,” O’Donnell said in a statement. “Just like the general election, 95 percent of my supporters are Iowans.”
The election has stoked political divisions as O’Donnell, a registered Republican, has emphasized the need to keep the part-time mayoral role nonpartisan, while Andrews has campaigned as a Democrat. Andrews has said one’s political party ties are an indicator values and judgment. Both candidates have used firms for various campaign services aligned with their respective parties.
“This election is about Cedar Rapids. It’s not about national party politics,” O’Donnell said. “That’s been my message all along and I’m glad that’s what voters are supporting. A win (Tuesday) will be a win for Cedar Rapids.”
Andrews and O’Donnell will face off Tuesday once again in the runoff that will finally decide who becomes Cedar Rapids’ next mayor. Hart has since endorsed O’Donnell as his successor.
Out of 170 contributions, O’Donnell raised $52,920 from 162 Iowa contributions — 141 of which came from Cedar Rapids, amounting to $47,845. City Council members Scott Olson and Ann Poe were among her local donors. O’Donnell raised $11,600 from eight out-of-state contributions.
Andrews again raised most of her money from outside of Iowa. Out of 129 contributions, she raised $13,715.84 from 61 out-of-state contributions — including two from The Collective PAC, which aims to increase Black political engagement. She raised $6,546.63 from 67 Iowa contributions — 48 of which are from Cedar Rapids, totaling $5,820.63.
“From the beginning we wanted to run a grassroots campaign,” Andrews said in a statement. “We knew it would be a difficult task going up against an incumbent and another well-financed opponent. This is why we made such an effort to connect with working-class voters across this city, and across the country.”
Her campaign noted O’Donnell’s supporters contributed in larger amounts, while Andrews had more small donors.
“O’Donnell’s supporters are well-heeled corporate types who are already overrepresented in government,” Andrews’ campaign treasurer Ann Brown said in a statement. “ … Cedar Rapidians deserve a mayor who will represent the interests of working-class people and who has been transparent about her values."
Andrews went into the runoff cycle with a reported $16,945.10 cash on hand — more than O’Donnell’s $13,045.79.
In the first reporting period, Andrews reported spending $15,620 on Sage Strategies, Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker’s consulting firm, which was formed in March. She reported an additional expenditure of $2,170 to the firm in Monday’s filing.
Her report also showed a $9,000 refund to Iowa Voter Info dated Nov. 5. The Andrews campaign’s coordination to send an anti-O’Donnell mailer with some members of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee, through the Iowa Voter Info political action committee filed with the Federal Elections Commission, drew an ethics complaint from an O’Donnell supporter. The complaint takes issue with what it says is the group’s failure to properly file as a city PAC. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board staff are still investigating the matter.
Separately, a group called Iowa Voter Information, run by Jennifer Hauff of Keokuk, in Facebook posts has called this PAC’s filing “total fraud,” as Hauff said her page’s email address was used in the committee’s FEC filing.
Andrews’ Oct. 28 campaign disclosure report listed two in-kind contributions from the Iowa Voter Info entity — a $9,000 contribution on Oct. 2 and another on Oct. 12 totaling $7,557.23, all for direct mail. The refund noted in her new report would cover only the Oct. 2 contribution.
Andrew Greenberg, an attorney with the state ethics board, said in an email, “We are aware that this was refunded and we are keeping track of this. We will present all the information, including that this was refunded, to the Board so they can consider all of the information to determine what, if any, actions are required to resolve the complaint.”
A day before the runoff, Andrews reported $5,522 unspent cash on hand and O’Donnell reported $13,603.62.
O’Donnell cemented her place in the runoff with 11,023 votes. Andrews finished with a 7,360 votes out of a total 26,176 cast in the race according to official results — 41 more than Hart.
But the candidates start from scratch again Tuesday, and anything could happen. In 2017, for instance, Hart defeated former City Council member Monica Vernon in a runoff, though she was the top vote-getter in the general election.
These two mayoral hopefuls have had to contend with voters’ diminished attention spans amid the Thanksgiving holiday while getting them back to the polls to vote anew.
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. To vote on Election Day, eligible residents may find their polling location at linncountyelections-ia.gov/lookup.
Mail-in absentee ballots must be physically received by the Auditor’s Office at 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids by the time the polls close. A drop box is available outside of the Building.
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