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Osceola voters return to the ballot box to decide town's new mayor

Matthew Stoll, who became mayor after his name was drawn from a bowl due to a tied vote in November, resigned in June.

OSCEOLA, Iowa — UPDATE: Unofficial results from Clarke County show Thomas Kedley with 47% of the vote compared to his challengers.

It may only be September, but for one Iowa town, it's already Election Day.

Osceola residents gathered at United Methodist Church on Tuesday to cast their ballots in a special election to determine the town's next mayor. That may seem like deja vu, because voters did the same thing less than a year ago.

Small-town politics often looks a lot different from what you see at the statehouse, and in Osceola, the last few months have been especially contentious.

"I'll live with it, whatever the result is, but it's too bad we had to go through this, what I call turmoil," said Gary Kimes, a resident of Osceola who voted in the September election.

Let's rewind a bit. 

In November 2021, an election for mayor between Matthew Stoll and then-incumbent Thomas Kedley ended in a tie. Under Iowa law, a random name-drawing between the two of them ended with Stoll being declared the winner.

Stoll served as mayor until an undisclosed incident at a city golf course in June; he resigned a few days later. After all that turmoil, residents Local 5 spoke to are hoping that things will calm down once the new mayor is elected.

"That was kind of a bad situation, a lot of bad publicity and so I guess you know, it's time to settle on someone that we feel will do a good job," said Deloris Sutton, who voted in the election.

Several voters shared they want a mayor who can help keep the area's population up. Some worried about Osceola not having enough opportunities to keep people from packing their bags and moving somewhere else.

"Clarke County has changed dramatically. The industry has been very good to communities provided employment and young people stay here," Kimes said.

Four candidates were on the ballot for voters—Thomas Kedley, Willis Hamilton, Shane Simpson, and Ann Ware.

RELATED: Osceola's new mayor sworn in after drawing name from bowl, allegations of voter fraud

RELATED: From polls to bowl | How fate decided Osceola's mayoral election

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