A pair of incumbents topped their challengers to retain their City of Dubuque elected positions Tuesday in citywide races.

But the City Council will have a pair of new faces for wards in which the incumbents did not run for re-election.


Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol, 67, was re-elected to a historic fourth term Tuesday.

Buol was the only candidate listed for the office on the ballot. He garnered about 60 percent of the votes, topping write-in candidate and City Council Member Jake Rios, 38, who garnered about 40 percent of votes in his write-in campaign.

A second declared write-in candidate, John H. Miller, received 23 votes.

“ ... I think it’s really an affirmation of where we’ve come from as a community and where we are going in the future,” Buol told a room of supporters at Mario’s Italian Restaurant after the unofficial results were reported. “We want to make this a community of choice where everyone has an opportunity that is sustainable and resilient.”

Buol wants to push forward city plans to facilitate an economic revitalization of the Central Avenue corridor to create a pedestrian-friendly business district that mimics the success seen in the Millwork District.

He also pledged to continue to support city investment in programs to bolster workforce development efforts, to combat poverty and racial prejudices, and to promote arts and culture and neighborhood redevelopment in the North End.

Rios is halfway through his first term representing the city’s Ward 4, which covers the greater downtown area, including the Millwork District, Port of Dubuque and part of the Washington Neighborhood.

“At the very least I got the issues that I thought needed to be addressed out,” Rios said by phone after the results were released.

During his campaign, he argued that council priorities needed to be rearranged to focus on more pressing concerns of growing poverty, filling empty industrial land, crime prevention, education and small-business development.


City Council Member Ric Jones, 65, retained his at-large seat and will serve a fourth term after topping Dubuque businessman Jonathan McCoy, 45. Jones received about 54 percent of the votes, compared to McCoy’s 46 percent.

Jones also said the vote totals affirmed that citizens support the city’s current path.

“This bears out what we thought,” Jones said. “We saw 6,000 unique individuals come forth for the city’s comprehensive planning process, and that was kind of an affirmation that we’re on the right track. Now, we’ve finally got the citizens’ affirmation that we were.”

McCoy had campaigned on bringing new leadership to the council, with a focus on transparency, city debt reduction and improved communication with residents.

“I wish the best to Ric and the rest of the council and hope to see some improvement in moving the city forward, hopefully in a more managed and in a sustainable way,” McCoy said.


The Ward 1 race was tight between challengers Brett Shaw and John T. Pregler. Incumbent Kevin Lynch did not run for re-election.

Shaw, 36, who is an information technology portfolio manager at John Deere Dubuque Works, emerged victorious with 1,085 votes — or 52 percent of votes — to Pregler’s 993 votes. The two men made it through a three-person primary to appear on the ballot.

Shaw said his “game plan” from the start was to “outwork” the competition.

“Every ounce of work that we did was absolutely necessary,” he said. “It’s been a marathon for the last eight weeks. Anywhere between two and four nights a week we’re running phone banks or knocking on doors.”

Pregler, 49, expressed disappointment over the race’s outcome, but he said he was proud that voter turnout was 18 percent in the City of Dubuque.

“The voters of Dubuque have spoken,” Pregler said. “I honor and appreciate their voice and their vote. I’m glad that my race was as close as it was, and I definitely wish Mr. Shaw the best. I think he definitely has the city’s best interests at heart.”


In another race in which the incumbent — Joyce Connors — did not run for re-election, Kate Larson bested Damian Waid, earning 938 votes to his 680.

Larson, a 32-year-old advertising account manager at Boyd Gaming, said she was “thrilled” with the outcome and enjoyed the experience of running for office. It was the first time she has done so.

“It was really fun getting to know my neighbors better,” she said. “Walking your neighborhood is one thing, but walking 20 neighborhoods gives you a really great perspective of how much pride there is in the North End.”

Waid, 32, also a first-timer in a bid for elected office, thanked the community and congratulated Larson.

“I hope that she has heard the citizens of the North End and the Point neighborhoods and that she represents them and helps to really improve things in the area and make people’s lives better,” he said. “(It is) an area that has been ignored for quite some time now.”

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