Candidates pack city election ballot

Marshalltown residents will see a full ballot this fall with 12 people running in the city election Nov. 5.

Three Marshalltown men are vying for mayor – Phillip Gavagan, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat last fall, Al Hoop, current 4th Ward council member and Jim Lowrance, group president of Great Western Bank.

Two at-large city council seats drew in six interested candidates including Tim Bradbury, Bill Martin, Tom Poole, Christopher Thiessen, Paul Waldron and incumbent Bethany Wirin.

Bob Wenner, at-large council member, served two terms and will not seek re-election.

In the 3rd Ward, Merrill Price and Mike Gowdy will compete for the seat currently held by Marla Grabenbauer, who will not seek re-election.

Bob Schubert, 1st Ward council member, will run uncontested for his seat.

The increased interest in city council follows a sleepy 2011 city election in which two candidates appeared on the ballot but one withdrew from the election after ballots were printed. Five people campaigned as write-in candidates.

County Auditor Dawn Williams, who oversees elections, said she had never seen a ballot with so few candidates in her 23 years in the office.

Mayor Tommy Thompson is encouraged by this year’s full ballot.

“I think the more participation the better it is in getting people involved in the community,” he said. “Hopefully it indicates people are interested in what’s going on in the city.”

Thompson was appointed interim mayor in September 2012, after the death of Mayor Gene Beach. He was one of four candidates running for mayor last fall, and easily won with more than 60 percent of the votes. He did not wish to seek re-election. Thompson previously served as mayor from 1992 to 1997.

Travis Case, assistant county auditor and recorder, said typically 10 percent of registered voters turn out for a countywide election.

“Generally unless there is something contested, it’s usually pretty steady as far as voter turnouts,” Case said.

Bradbury and Waldron, the last candidates to file, were reached for comment, but did not return calls by press time.

The deadline for candidate filing was 5 p.m. Thursday.

-Abigail Pelzer contributed to this report.