FAIRFIELD — Fairfield’s election season just got a little longer.
The town’s citizens turned out for a three-way mayor’s race Tuesday, Nov. 5, between Michael Halley, Connie Boyer and Ed Noyes. Halley finished with the most votes of the three with 1,055 votes (47.6 percent), with Boyer in second with 883 (39.8 percent) and Noyes in third with 277 (12.5 percent).
To win a seat on the Fairfield City Council or to become the city’s mayor, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the vote. If that does not happen, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff election held the following month.
Since Halley and Boyer were the top two vote-getters, they will go head-to-head in a runoff election on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Countywide, the election saw a turnout of nearly 25 percent, as 2,779 of the 11,124 registered voters in the county participated.
Halley told The Union after learning the result that he is “feeling hopeful” for the next round.
“I just didn’t quite make it to 50 percent,” he said. “I got a lot of people excited in my campaign about inviting the next generation to get more involved and putting more attention on those in need.”
Halley said he wants to continue the tradition of Mayor Ed Malloy in making constant improvement to the city.
Boyer remarked that Tuesday’s results show that there is “more work ahead.” She said she did a lot of door-knocking and making phone calls, and had friends making calls for her, too.
“We’ll just have to do it again,” she said.
Boyer said she wanted to thank the people who voted Tuesday, and hopes the town will have another election in December with just as much if not more participation.
Election results were posted at about 10:30 p.m. Early election results posted on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at 9 p.m. showed Halley leading with 251 votes (49 percent) to Boyer’s 210 (41 percent) and Noyes’s 52 (10 percent).
Fairfield’s current mayor, Ed Malloy, said the next mayor has a great opportunity to keep the city’s growth on track.
“The challenge would be meeting the needs of that growth: housing, workforce, streets and infrastructure,” Malloy said. “Fairfield is quite strong at this point in time. The incoming mayor and council will have a new comprehensive plan to guide the growth and opportunities in the next few years.”
Malloy said he is glad to have played a role in getting Fairfield to its current level of growth.
Malloy understands well Fairfield’s election requirement that the winning candidate receive at least 50 percent of the vote. In his first run for city council in 1991, Malloy had to compete in a runoff election after no candidate had 50 percent of the vote after the initial round. Malloy went on to win the runoff election. He would become mayor 10 years after that, a position he has held for 18 years.
The Union asked Malloy what piece of advice he would give to the incoming mayor.
“Get to know the great city staff you’ll be working with,” Malloy said. “Begin with good strategic planning with the new council. Be open and inclusive in everything you do with public, and have fun.”
Malloy was asked if it was hard for him to give up his vote when he switched from being a council member to the mayor. He said that the mayor plays a different role in city government from a council member.
“I had a different kind of impact, not through my vote, but more through inspiring others and galvanizing the community around projects and progress,” Malloy said.
The Union gave the three candidates a questionnaire asking them to describe their background and asking them to talk about their vision for the city of Fairfield.
Halley described himself as a “progressive servant leader” who was ready to work with the entire community. Halley has been a city council member since 2010, and has been the mayor pro-tem since 2018.
Halley spoke about the need to attract and retain working-age residents to fill local jobs, improve and expand quality, affordable housing, and to fix the streets to improve safety for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and disabled residents.
Boyer said she was running for mayor to “inspire the community to create an even better place to raise our families and growth together as a healthy, happy community.” Boyer was on the Fairfield City Council twice, and was mayor pro-tem her second time. She was also on the Fairfield Strategic Planning Committee and co-chaired the Go Green Plan.
Boyer talked about the need to increase the city’s housing stock and address dilapidated properties. She listed keeping up with street repair and controlling high property taxes as among her top priorities.
Noyes spoke about his experience leading service projects such as the International Community Service Day events in Fairfield. He talked about the need to grow the economy in a healthy way that “will ensure that our community will flourish and bring opportunity for all.” Noyes mentioned that tourism has become a big part of Pella’s economy, and he said tourism could mean the same thing for Fairfield.
Noyes recommended the city form its own electric cooperative, which he said would reduce utility costs and expand the area’s renewable energy sector. He also said the city should not be afraid to pass laws addressing 5G wireless technology, which he believes to be a health risk.