MUSCATINE — Change is coming to the Muscatine City Council after Mayor Diana Broderson won re-election Tuesday and three incumbents lost their seats.
After being stripped of some powers, ousted by her fellow council members, then being reinstated by a district court judge, Broderson will serve a second term as mayor. With 2,478 votes, or more than 59 percent, Broderson won the race, defeating business owner Charlie Harper, who won 1,666 votes, or nearly 40 percent.
Broderson's first term as mayor was fraught with controversy, as the Muscatine City Council voted her out of office in May, claiming she willfully violated city code. This summer and early fall, however, brought better luck for the mayor.
A month after the removal vote, a district court judge reinstated Broderson, and last month, a judge ruled the council's removal was a violation of the mayor's right to due process.
The announcement of her win Tuesday night was another vindicating moment for Broderson.
“I am feeling relieved and validated by the people,” she said. “I feel like the people have spoken in our community about what they want our future to be like. We have a new council and we are ready to work for the people.”
Harper, owner of Harper's Cycling and Fitness, said the loss was a disappointment, but running for mayor has encouraged him to be more involved in city government in the future.
“I’m a little disappointed but it’s not the end of the world,” Harper said. “But we had a very enthusiastic turnout. I’m humbled I was even asked to go run for mayor in the first place. With my age, though, I probably won’t try again.”
On the heels of Broderson's win in court, Muscatine residents cast ballots to unseat three current council members. Newcomer Kelcey Brackett won the at large seat, while Nadine Brockert won in the 4th Ward and Osmond “Oz” Malcolm won in the 2nd Ward.
Brackett, an employee of Stanley Consultants, unseated two-term Councilman Scott Natvig, a retired employee of Grain Processing Corporation. Brackett won with 1,855 votes, or 45 percent, while Natvig took 1,439 votes, or 35 percent. Newcomer Kerry Denison received 786 votes, or 19 percent.
“I feel that there was enough pushback against the incumbents and voters have made their voice heard,” Brackett said. “We need to make change to push forward and clean up the mess that’s been going on.”
“I worked as hard as I could on this campaign, and I’m sure a lot of factors swayed things,” Natvig, the incumbent, said. “The good part is I’ll have more time to spend with my family and enjoy a full retirement.”
The 4th Ward seat was the most highly contested, with current Councilman Bob Bynum choosing not to seek re-election due to poor health. Nadine Brockert, a retired Monsanto employee, won with 298 votes, or nearly 49 percent; while Brian Freitag received 187 votes, or more than 30 percent; Vance Crumly received 67 votes, or 11 percent, and Larry Murray received 55 votes, or 9 percent.
“I’m very honored and humbled and will do my best to represent the 4th Ward,” Brockert said.
In the 2nd Ward, incumbent Michael Rehwaldt was unseated by newcomer Oz Malcolm, who won with 481 votes, or 71 percent. Rehwaldt received 188 votes, or nearly 28 percent.
Malcolm, an ordained minister and volunteer at the Salvation Army, said he will be happy to see three new faces on the city council.
“My whole thing this entire time has been it’s time for positive change,” Malcolm said.