SIOUX CITY | For the first time in decades, Sioux City voters have returned three incumbents to their seats on the City Council.
Dan Moore, Alex Watters and Pete Groetken retained their seats with sound victories Tuesday during the city's municipal elections.
According to unofficial results, Moore led all candidates with 3,412 votes, followed by Watters with 3,283 votes and Groetken with 2,940 votes.
Challengers Denny Quinn, Doug Waples and Jake Jungers followed with 1,538, 1,341 and 1,218 votes, respectively.
"I really appreciate the voters having the confidence and trust in me that they would ask me to serve another four years to serve with them," Moore said. "It's very humbling for me. It was a good campaign, a good race."
Voters on Tuesday could select up to three candidates on their ballots, with the top three vote-getters winning the open seats on the council. The newly elected council members will take their oaths of office in January, joining current member Rhonda Capron and Mayor Bob Scott on the council.
Moore, a longtime Sioux City attorney, and Groetken, a retired Sioux City Police captain, were running for their second terms on the council after receiving the highest vote totals during the 2013 election.
"I'm kind of the 'elder statesman' in this group. ... I've got a lot of experience in city government, and I'm hopeful that I can be a big help over the next four years," Groetken said. "The city's got a lot of good things going on, and I'm very pleased to be able to be a part of it over the next four years."
Watters, an adviser at Morningside College, was seeking his first full term after the council appointed him in February to fill the remaining 10 months of the term held by Keith Radig, who left the council to serve on the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors.
"To have their vote of confidence here and to have a resounding vote of support, I'm really happy for that and excited for the next four years," Watters said.
Jungers, Quinn and Waples were all seeking their first term on the council.
Voters have not typically favored incumbents in recent years. Until Oct. 10, an incumbent in one of the council's three-seat election years had not received the most votes in a primary or general election for more than a dozen years. The election follows one two years ago in which Scott and Capron were re-elected to their respective seats as mayor and council member.
"There were several elections in a row where the incumbents didn't do very well," said Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill. "This is a pretty good indication that people are pretty satisfied with the current City Council."
7,158 voters cast ballots in this year's election, about 16 percent of Sioux City's 44,063 registered voters, which Gill said is another sign of general voter satisfaction.
The turnout was similar to the mid-teens turnouts in the 2013 election and 2009 elections, when about 14 percent of registered voters turned out. Voter turnout had been around 25 percent in 2005.
The three incumbents also had the most funding to leverage during the 2017 election, according to reports filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure board Friday.
Moore led all candidates in fundraising heading into Tuesday's election with more than $12,000. He, Watters and Groetken were the only candidates who filed reports prior to Friday's deadline, a requirement for candidates who raise more than $1,000.
As of the report date, Moore had spent approximately $8,800 on his campaign, including approximately $530 on campaign signs and nearly $6,800 on advertising.
Moore's largest donors were the Sioux City Professional Firefighters Association Local No. 7 and Ritch LeGrand, who both contributed $1,000.
Watters raised the second-most, reporting $7,835 in contributions and $7,498.74 in spending: $5,627.98 on advertising, $1,541 on campaign signs and $100 to the Woodbury County Democratic Central Committee at a fundraiser he attended.
Watters' top donors had included $1,000 donations from the Sioux City Professional Firefighters Association Local No. 7, Louis Weinberg and Dave Bernstein.
Groetken didn't raise a dime during his campaign, according to the report, but used $415.05 of a total of $2,112.42 left over from his 2013 campaign to purchase campaign signs.