Nov 8, 2023 - News

Des Moines elects its first woman mayor

A photo of Connie Boesen.

Photo: Courtesy of Connie Boesen's campaign for mayor

Connie Boesen is Des Moines' next mayor, according to Tuesday night's unofficial election results.

Why it matters: Boesen will be DSM's first woman mayor.

By the numbers: Boesen received 14,488 votes, just over 48%, according to unofficial results.

  • Councilperson Josh Mandelbaum received 13,777 votes, or about 46%.
  • Community organizer Denver Foote and musician Christopher Von Arx received under 1,000 votes each.

Of note: DSM adopted a winner-take-all election model in 2020, so there are no runoff elections anymore even if one candidate doesn't reach a 50% threshold.

Zoom in: Boesen, 72, campaigned on the city's need to respond to an uptick in violent crimes, champion economic development and revitalize neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Mandelbaum, 44, campaigned on his efforts to protect abortion access in the city, which he said was groundwork to help resist enforcement should stricter abortion regulations or bans be enacted in Iowa.

  • Cownie and the other current City Council members endorsed Boesen, with some citing Mandelbaum's tendency to get DSM involved in state or national politics rather than to focus on city issues as a reason.

What they're saying: We'll be able to keep moving forward on some of the things that I brought up during the campaign. It's really getting back to what we can do for our community," Boesen told KCCI soon after her win.

  • Mandelbaum, who retains his Ward 3 seat on the City Council, vowed to keep working for neighborhoods, businesses and to fight for reproductive freedoms and transgender rights.
  • "I'm going to fight for you to make sure you know you are welcome in the city of Des Moines," he said in a concession speech from Mars Cafe, as broadcast on KCCI last night.

What's next: Boesen takes office in January.

  • A special election to fill her at-large City Council seat will be held in March.

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