DUBUQUE- Roy Buol has been the mayor of Dubuque for the past twelve years, and hopes to continue with a fourth consecutive term. But as the 2017 City Elections get closer, Buol now faces some competition.
City Councilman Jake Rios and retied pilot John Miller both announced plans earlier this month to run as write-in candidates for the office of mayor. Because of the late announcement, neither of their names will appear on voters’ ballots. This means that anyone wanting to submit their vote for Rios or Miller will have to physically write that name on election day.
Not appearing on the ballot creates a disadvantage for write-ins, which Associate Professor of Politics Chris Budzisz describes as a serious obstacle.
“Oftentimes, write-ins suffer from a lack of knowledge by voters, so it’s kind of an uphill fight for them,” says Budzisz. “And then there’s an extra step that voters have to do, which is actually write in the name.”
Incumbants like Buol have an edge since their name appears on the ballot, and is familiar to voters. However, as a city councilman, Jake Rios has also become a familiar figure in town. He’s been working to bring attention to people oriented-issues around Dubuque. His growing popularity and community support may lead to an upset. He describes his campaign as more engaged and active than some other write-ins.
“I’m not like the other write-in candidates who aren’t actively pursuing the office,” says Rios. “I feel that I can continue on what Buol has been doing to some extent. But also worry more about what’s happening to the people, especially downtown with the ward I represent.”
Write-in candidates like Miller and Rios are pretty typical, but they face a significant challenge at the polls, as Doctor Budzisz explains, “Write-ins are pretty common. Successful write-ins are not very common. So it’s very rare to actually see a write-in candidate win an election.”
And though his opponents believe its time to reorganize Dubuque’s priorities, Mayor Buol hopes to move forward with the initiatives he’s set in motion. Even after twelve years on the job, he still believes he has the energy to continue dedicating his time to the city he cares about.
“I like to think that I’ve done a pretty good job representing the city of Dubuque,” Buol stated. “I think they appreciate that fact. And so I’ve really had support throughout my terms as mayor.”
The election takes place on November 7th. To find out where you can cast your vote, click here.
Amber Krieg is a sophomore at Loras from Dubuque, Iowa. She is currently an Associate News Producer for LCTV. Amber is majoring in Media Studies with a minor in Public Relations. Outside of LCTV, she enjoys working in the theater with the Loras Players.