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Brad Hart will not seek recount in close race for Cedar Rapids mayor
Tiffany O’Donnell, Amara Andrews to face off in Nov. 30 runoff
CEDAR RAPIDS — With a slim margin putting Amara Andrews in the second-place spot to proceed to the Nov. 30 runoff election against Tiffany O’Donnell in the race for Cedar Rapids mayor, incumbent Brad Hart announced Friday he will not ask for a recount.
After Linn County accounted for over 100 provisional ballots countywide Thursday, or ballots that required further review of a voter’s eligibility to be included in the official count, Andrews increased her margin over Hart from 24 votes to 40. She finished with a total 7,359 votes out of 26,175, according to unofficial results.
Although Andrews, a TrueNorth employee, narrowly made it into the Nov. 30 runoff election against Women Lead Change Chief Executive Officer O’Donnell, who finished with 11,023 votes, Hart said he opted not to seek a recount “in part to avoid the cost and the efforts of those who would need to be involved.”
Linn County Auditor Joel Miller had cautioned against any candidate seeking a recount after the county Board of Supervisors canvasses results this Tuesday, fearing the time involved may delay ballot printing and ultimately disrupt the time window for early voting. Miller said that could result in a significantly smaller voter pool electing Cedar Rapids’ next mayor.
“Thank you to my family, friends, volunteers and Cedar Rapids voters for your support in my re-election bid,” Hart said in a statement. “We fell short of our goal and are, of course, disappointed. However, I am proud of the successes of the last four years and where the city stands today.”
Hart said despite the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 derecho, most Cedar Rapidians believe the city is on the right track, as the city has come far in derecho recovery and improving city streets, as well as adding flood protection, housing and jobs.
“I will finish out my term by serving this great city just like I've tried to do every day for the last four years,” Hart said. “Thank you to my fellow city council members and to the talented city team I've had the privilege to work with. Thank you to the citizens of Cedar Rapids for the opportunity to serve you over the last four years. It has been an honor.”
O’Donnell said she thanks Hart for his service to Cedar Rapids.
“He has a servant's heart and we've all benefited from his love for Cedar Rapids,” O’Donnell said. “If I'm fortunate enough to be elected mayor, it would be a privilege to continue the work that he and the city have done to get us to where we are today.”
In a statement, Andrews said, “I thank him for his service to Cedar Rapids and his decision which allows the process to move forward in a way that is beneficial for Cedar Rapidians.”
Hart said he will decide, likely early next week, whether to endorse a successor. “I’m not ready to make that decision yet,” he said Friday.
Before voting begins for the runoff, the three-member county Board of Supervisors will meet Tuesday to canvass election results.
Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, who works for Andrews’ campaign, said in a statement he will recuse himself from this canvass, leaving only two supervisors to certify the results.
Campaign disclosure reports filed Oct. 28, the most recent available, show Andrews has paid $15,620 so far to Sage Strategies, Walker’s consulting firm, which was formed in March.
“I most certainly plan on recusing myself from the vote canvass, even though I've been assured there is no legal conflict of interest,” Walker said. “In the interest of transparency and fairness, I believe it is the right thing to do.”
Voters have until 5 p.m. Nov. 15 to register to vote before the Nov. 30 runoff and to send absentee ballot request forms, which must be received in the Linn County Auditor’s Office by that time.
After the supervisors canvass results, in-person absentee voting will begin Nov. 10 and continue through 5 p.m. Nov. 29 at the county Auditor’s Office, 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids.
To vote on Election Day, eligible residents may find their polling location at linncountyelections-ia.gov/lookup.
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