Government

3 Cedar Rapids city council incumbents re-elected and newcomer joins the council

Pat Loeffler will join as new member in January

Jacob Patterson of Cedar Rapids (left), Connie Frame (center) of Cedar Rapids and Janet Runyan of Cedar Rapids inspect the ID of Maggie Kpongo of Cedar Rapids at the precinct 32 polling place at Calvary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Kpongo, who grew up in Belgium, recently became a U.S. citizen and voted for the first time in this election. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Jacob Patterson of Cedar Rapids (left), Connie Frame (center) of Cedar Rapids and Janet Runyan of Cedar Rapids inspect the ID of Maggie Kpongo of Cedar Rapids at the precinct 32 polling place at Calvary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Kpongo, who grew up in Belgium, recently became a U.S. citizen and voted for the first time in this election. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Three incumbents were voted back onto City Council in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, and one newcomer will join the nine-member panel.

Scott Overland, 56, a financial services executive, handily retained his District 2 seat, which includes parts of the southeast and northeast quadrants, defeating challenger Sofia Mehaffey, 35, a Horizons executive.

“I’m very excited to be re-elected to District 2 and get back to work on my priorities for the city,” said Overland, who watched results at the Irish Democrat pub. “I’ll continue to be an advocate for our neighborhoods, especially our older neighborhoods. Urban flooding problems have plagued our older neighborhoods and that will be my focus.”

Election results: Full results from Cedar Rapids, other city elections in Linn County

Incumbent Ann Poe, 67, earned the most votes overall and will return to the council for a third term.

Union leader Pat Loeffler, 53, earned the other at-large seat that was up for grabs.

Scott Olson, 73, a commercial real estate broker, ran unopposed in District 4, which encompasses much of the northwest quadrant and a portion of the southwest quadrant and will return for a third term.

The election outcome — with the minimal possible turnover, of just one new member — signals the city likely will continue its current course of prioritizing construction of a flood control system, an aggressive street repair initiative and a business-friendly economic development program.

“I would hope the message is the community understands how hard we work,” Poe said, “not only over the past four years but since the flood — how hard we’ve worked to bring the community back.”

Poe, who has led the council’s development committee, pointed to the progress made by the “dynamic team” at City Hall and a “council (that) works well together.”

Loeffler vowed to bring a listening ear when he joins the council.

“I am going to bring common sense back to City Council,” Loeffler said. “I will listen to people, listen to voters and what they have to say. And then follow through.”

Jorel Robinson, 32, an employee at GoDaddy and a community advocate, came in third in the at-large race. The other at-large incumbent, Susie Weinacht, did not seek a third term.

The five other seats on the nine-member council were not up for election this cycle. The part-time council position pays $18,795 annually, and the four-year terms begin in January 2020.

In fundraising, Overland, who leads the council’s finance committee, outraised Mehaffey $20,011 to $6,155. Poe raised $12,369, Loeffler raised $11,277, and Robinson did not file a report.

One of those voting Tuesday at Noelridge Christian Church in northeast Cedar Rapids was Eric Palmer, 35. He said he pays little attention to city issues but, as a father, was mainly interested in the school board race. Still, he supported Overland and Poe for council and left the second at-large option blank.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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