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Candidates share thoughts on intense race for Cedar Rapids mayor

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Political accusations and mudslinging aren’t usually a part of non-partisan city elections, but that’s exactly what’s happening in the Cedar Rapids mayoral race this time around.

Four candidates are vying for the role. This includes current mayor Brad Hart, Tiffany O’Donnell, Amara Andrews, and Myra Colby Bradwell.

“This time I feel like I have to defend the city and what’s happened,” Hart said.

The intensity of the campaign so far, though, is weighing on Hart.

”Some of this stuff now is trying to ruin my reputation. That’s really hard on me, it’s hard on my wife and my friends,” Hart said.

Mailers sent out by Amara Andrews’ campaign are critical of Hart, specifically mentioning his response to the derecho.

“They thought I was saying we don’t need the National Guard. I was just saying we don’t need the National Guard to clear our streets, because the state was already sending other help,” Hart said.

Andrews’ mailers also target Tiffany O’Donnell’s political affiliation as a registered republican.

”If I’ve learned anything through this onslaught of negative mailing targeting me, it’s that people don’t like it, and they’ve told me that. It’s not who we are in Cedar Rapids,” O’Donnell said.

Andrews faced recent criticism after a conservative blog, the Iowa Field Report, published court documents detailing past financial issues. That includes a federal tax lien, not paying home association dues, and a lawsuit settlement with an Illinois homebuilder.

”You know I can relate to people who have lost everything and who work, who live paycheck to paycheck and I really consider that a strength,” Andrews said.

Andrews responded to the report in a YouTube video last week.

“Once we got back on our feet, we made good on all of our debts, a fact we’re extremely proud of,” Andrews said, in the video.

Andrews blamed her opponents for circulating the stories, something both Hart and O’Donnell deny.

”Let me be clear that my campaign has nothing to do with finding that information, or releasing that information,” O’Donnell said.

Hart said the information could be important for some voters.

”For some voters, it’s important yeah. I mean some people they’ll say that that’s a character issue,” Hart said.

Ultimately, the voters will decide a week from today whether financial issues or party affiliation truly matter in a mayor.

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on November 2.

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