Several city/school election races decided by write-in votes

Paine accepts Union school board seat

The 2023 city/school election was held on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. In an echo of previous city/school elections, races in several Tama County communities were ultimately decided by write-in votes. TAMA-GRUNDY PUBLISHING FILE PHOTO

Following the official first and second canvass of the Nov. 7 city and school elections in Tama County, the winner of Union’s District 1 school board seat as well as city government races in Clutier, Garwin, Tama, and Vining were decided by write-in votes.

Union school board

The Union school board had four seats up for election on Nov. 7 including seats in District 1, District 3, District 4, and At-Large.

No candidate filed nomination papers for the District 1 race again this election cycle. The seat encompasses portions of the Black Hawk County precinct Big Creek/Spring Creek/La Porte City including the city of La Porte as well as the immediate surrounding area bordered by Kober Road to the west and East Eagle Road to the north, while roughly following the Cedar River to King Road in the east. The Black Hawk-Benton county line provides the district’s southern boundary.

Through 2023, the seat was held by incumbent Brandon Paine who declined to run again.

Brandon Paine.

But in a plot twist, Paine was sworn in for a new term during last Tuesday’s board meeting in Dysart after winning the seat this time around by write-in with six votes.

Behind Paine was Randy (sic) Brodigan with four votes – Brodigan does not live in District 1.

After mulling the decision, Paine accepted the seat that evening, board secretary Diane Roberts told the Telegraph, and was sworn in alongside incumbent board member Ben Schemmel and newcomer Carly McGivern who were both running unopposed for their respective districts.

McGivern takes over for past board member Jenna Scott who declined to run this election after serving eight years (two terms) on the board.

Incumbent board member Corey Lorenzen – also running unopposed – will be sworn in before the next board meeting.


In Clutier all six elected members of the city’s government serve two-year terms. No individuals filed for election this year by the September deadline.

Linda Pearson won the mayor’s race with 35 write-in votes. Four other individuals each received one vote apiece including Joseph Stacey, Wayne Benson, Arden Cross, and Phillip Breja.

The five city council seats were won by Katherine Seye with 32 votes, Carley Bolhuis with 27 votes, Sue Kupka with 24 votes, Dianna Cowan with 20 votes, and Emma Winkelpleck with 13 votes.

The oath of office for the new all-female board was scheduled to take place on Monday, Dec. 4 at City Hall during the next council meeting.


In Garwin, no one filed to run for the two-year term council vacancy.

Rick Raymond was declared the winner by write-in with 13 votes. Eighteen other individuals each received one write-in vote apiece.


In the City of Tama, three council seats were up for election this cycle for four-year terms. Only two candidates filed nomination papers including incumbent Larry Thomas and newcomer Danny Robinson who won their respective races.

The third seat was won by Michelle Jimenez with 32 write-in votes. According to deputy clerk Sierra Berger, Jimenez has accepted the seat and will be sworn in during a January 2024 council meeting alongside Thomas and Robinson.

Behind Jimenez, both Shayna Zmolek and Marty Hardon received five votes apiece.


As in previous election cycles, all six seats for Vining city government were up for election with zero individuals filing to run by the September deadline.

Jeff Vore won the race for mayor with seven write-in votes. Incumbent Mayor Steve Rouse received two votes.

The winners of the Vining City Council seats were Fred Vore with seven votes, Jim Griggs and Daryl Bazal who had six votes each, and Shaye Betz and Janice Bazal who each garnered five write-in votes apiece.

Below is a full report of the write-in votes that were submitted in Tama County during the Nov. 7, 2023 city/school election for empty ballot races only.

Write-in entries have not been edited for grammar and appear as they were written on the ballots.

In some cases the oval next to the write-in option on the ballot was filled in but nothing was written in the space provided.

Union School Board of Directors, District 1

Andred Berhens-1

Willis Hennings-1

Brandon Paine-6


Randy Brodigan-4

Cady Schmidt-1

Jenna Scott-1

Lindsey Nechanicky-1

Will Hennings-1

Greg Nolan-1

Chris Miehe-1

Chris Bickel-1

Borge Johnson-1

Dawn Johnson-1

Pat Benda-1

Jeff Busil-1

Sarah Craft-1

Larry Mehlert-1

Ross Stone-1

Darin Mills-1

Shawn Mehkrt-1

Donna Steffen-1

Nathaniel Peterson-1

Clutier Mayor (vote for 1)

Linda Pearson-35

Joseph Stacey-1

Wayne Benson-1

Arden Cross-1

Phillip Breja-1

Clutier City Council (vote for 5)

David Vondrack-4

Rhonda Edwards-4

Katherine Seye-32

Mitchell Kriz-4

Todd Eichhorst-3

Dianna Cowan-20


Carley Bolhuis-27

Sue Kupka-24

Emma Winkelpleck-13

Jane Seda-2

Nick Sineknecht-3

Aaron Fink-1

Phillip Breja-12

Deb Kupka-1

Amber Chizek-1

Bill Heckt-1

Wayne Benson-3

Jeanette Stacey-1

Arden Cross-1

Garwin City Council (to fill a vacancy, vote for 1)

Levio Simcox-1

Ron Smith-1

Seth Hedman-1

Rick Raymond-13

Roxanne Catherwood-1

Leonard Untiedt-1

Rich Hass-1

Betty Mathern-1

Lorie Waite-1

Phyllis Konicek-2

Wilfred Karsjen-1

Mark Mathern-1

Shannon Zoffka-1

Mark Polich-1

Jerry Stalzer-1

Travis Anderson-2

Levi Simcox-1

Rod Claassen-1

Keith Barloon-1

Tama City Council (only one seat of three decided by write-in)

Michelle Jimenez-32

William Smith-1

Shawn Baier-1


Shayna Zmolek-5

Marty Hardon-5

Anne Michael-2

Alan Ribby-1

John Anderson-1

Richard Jiminez-2

Elmer Baier-2

JJ Jacoby-2

Kelle A Carolin-1

Mark Patterson-2

Dan Quigley-2

Jeff Large-2

Doug Wacha-1

Chris Collins-1

Mike Wedmore-1

Heather Betz-1

Judy Welch-2

Tolly VanDyke-1

Brandy Coleman-1

Kristi Eisentrager-1

Vining Mayor (vote for 1)

Steve Rouse-2

Jeff Vore-7

Vining City Council (vote for 5)

Makaylee Parizek-2

Betty VanDee-1

George Horton-1

Shaye Betz-5

Midge Horton-1

Jim Griggs-6

Daryl Bazal-6

Fred Vore-7

Jeff Vore-1

Kyle Dalin-2

Barb Bazil-2

Janice Bazal-5

Arlo Cibula-2

Red Rouse-1