In a closely contested race for Oelwein leadership, newcomer Brett DeVore came out the winner in this year’s municipal election, narrowly defeating incumbent Mayor Peggy Lee Sherrets, 539 votes to 461. Incumbent Councilman At Large Darin Christensen was also defeated by Tom Stewart, in a similar outcome of 417 to 529 votes. First Ward Councilman Matt Weber took in 208 votes, winning over 68 write-in votes.
The Fayette County Auditor’s Office is only giving preliminary vote counts in write-ins, and not names, until the official canvass is completed. Write-in votes in Oelwein’s Third Ward totaled 35, but there is no way of knowing who the official winner is at this time.
“From what my understanding is, there were so many more voting in this election than the last. That is a great sign that people are paying attention and getting involved. That is what this town needs, more people getting involved,” said DeVore, late Tuesday night.
“I think both Peggy and I want good things for Oelwein. It doesn’t matter who wins as long as we are both working to make the community better,” he added.
The voter turnout for Oelwein’s city election easily tripled the total number of voters that cast ballots in the last municipal elections in 2017. That year, the total number of registered voters in Oelwein was 3,489 and only 288 showed up to vote, a mere 8.25 percent.
Fairbank Mayor Mike Harter ran unopposed and garnered 150 votes, with one writ-in. In City Council seats, there were three candidates running for two positions. Vote totals were Ronald Woods, 129, Andrew Williams, 118 and Ronald Miller, 41.
There were no contested seats for the Oelwein School District, with Candace King, 751, Erin Ryan, 719, and newcomer Robert Bouska, 736 capturing the three director seats. There were 36 write-in votes. Public Measure HK also passed 817-236.
In other contested mayoral races throughout the county, Fayette incumbent Mayor Andrew Wenthe won over Bobby Jo Larson, 145-120. West Union incumbent Mayor Adam Keller won easily over challenger Lester Hope, 326-47.
The top three vote-getters for the three Elgin City Council posts were Bob Frieden, 126, Stephanie Hermen, 90, and Brian Thomas, 83, followed by Sarah Rose, 79, James Lee Johnson, 46, and Ronald Hills, 44, with 62 write-in votes.
For the Fayette City Council, there were five positions open, with nine candidates in the running. Top votes went to Nathan Post, 186, Amy Tucker, 169, Linda Tenney, 152, Nancy Wulfekuhle, 147, and Patricia L. Potratz, 130, followed by Curtis Larson, 125, James B. Lowery, 96, Tim Wulfekuhle, 81, and John Garcia, 69.
The contested West Union At-Large City Council seat had three contenders. Kennon W. Gumm, 192 won in that contest, with Linda Croal receiving 126 votes, and Ann Hutchens, 57.
There were also four candidates for two At Large City Council seats in Sumner. Winners were Brock Rettinger, 3, and George Heying, 2. Brian Bockhaus received 1 vote and none for Linda Meier.
In the Wapsie Valley School District, with three of four counties reporting, approval of the public measure led by 328 to 96
In the race for three seats on the Starmont School Board, the winners were Julie Uhlenkamp with 327 votes, Kevin Powell with 270, and Anthony Robert Recker with 266. Candidate Terry Seedorff received 248 votes.