The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Incumbents Laura Bergus and Pauline Taylor win Iowa City’s District A primary

Bergus and Taylor will face off in November on the general ballot to see who will take the District A seat on the council.
Jordan Barry
Laura Bergus and her supporters wait for the Iowa City Council primary results to come in while waiting at a campaign watch party at the South District Market in Iowa City on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (Jordan Barry/ The Daily Iowan)

Iowa City City Council incumbents Laura Bergus and Pauline Taylor will be the two candidates on the general election ballot for District A after results from the district’s primary on Tuesday night.

Bergus and Taylor joined Iowa City resident Tim Borchardt on the primary ballot. The district had a primary because it had more than two candidates who filed for the seat.

Bergus received 372 votes, Taylor received 159 votes, and Borchardt received 105 votes. A total of 649 people voted out of a possible 9,860 — making up 6.58 percent of registered voters — according to the Johnson County Auditor’s website.

Laura Bergus

In August, Bergus announced she would be running for the District A seat rather than an At-Large seat, which she currently holds, because she now lives in District A.

Since her current term began in January 2020, Bergus has worked toward racial equity, sustainability, and public transit goals. 

In April, Bergus tried to pass an amendment to the city’s budget that would move money from the police budget to other public safety measures that do not involve only law enforcement, but was ultimately unsuccessful. 

Bergus hosted an intimate watch party for the primary at the South District Market on Tuesday night. Around a dozen people were in attendance. 

Garnering nearly 60 percent of District A’s votes, Bergus said this result surprised her and is encouraging when looking ahead to November, but she plans to continue forging ahead strongly in anticipation of the general election.

“We’re not going to take our foot off the gas pedal,” Bergus said. “But this is a good indicator of some momentum.”

Swarnima Chaudhary, an attendee of the watch party and a campaign organizer for Bergus, said she plans on voting for Bergus in November because she has shown great leadership skills and advocates for important issues, such as free public transit.

“I think she truly cares about the community she lives in,” Chaudhary said. “So seeing all that, I would want that in a leader that’s sitting on city council and impacting our lives through daily policies and what they support and don’t.”

Pauline Taylor

Taylor began her first term on the Iowa City City Council in 2016 and is hoping to start her third term on the council if elected this November. In her time on the council, Taylor has advocated for health care, affordable housing, child care, and traffic safety. 

A watch party for Taylor was held at Sanctuary, a restaurant and bar in downtown Iowa City located at 405 S. Gilbert St.

The pub hosted a dozen of Taylor’s friends, family, and supporters, including Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague. 

Teague said he supported Taylor because of her history on city council and her deep love of Iowa City. 

“I think now it’s another opportunity for her to let the voters know her position and wanted to win and deserve another round,” Teague said. 

Also in attendance was Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter, who attended both watch parties Tuesday night, and said Taylor has worked hard on good issues and deserved the win.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Taylor said she stands on her record of being on the city council for the past eight years. 

In regard to her fellow winner, Taylor drew comparisons between the two of them.

“She’s a hard worker, she gets out there, talks to people, but I do too, and I listen to people,” Taylor said. “She might talk to them [but] I listen to them.” 

Taylor said she is pleased with the results but is ready for the hard work ahead.

Tim Borchardt

Borchardt is a long-time Iowa City resident who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019. He was hoping to bring a more conservative perspective to the city council if elected and wanted to focus on housing affordability, tightening the city budget, and making Iowa City safer and tougher on crime.

On the night of the primary, Borchardt watched the election results come in at his home with his family.

As the newcomer in the race, Borchardt faced, as he put it in a phone interview with the DI, an “uphill battle” to beat the two incumbent candidates. And on the night of the primary, he fell just over 50 votes short of contesting Taylor, who had the lower voter count of the two winners.

Borchardt said despite the loss, he still wanted to congratulate the two winners.

“I spread my message and the 4 percent or 5 percent of the people that voted chose the incumbent’s message,” he said. “So that’s really all I got to say: congratulations to the winners.”

As for what’s next, Borchardt said he would be focusing on his family, but wouldn’t rule any future runs out.

“We will see if something comes along, but I won’t rule anything in or anything out,” he said. “It’s just two years away, and life goes on, no big deal. It’s just the way it is.”

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Alejandro Rojas
Alejandro Rojas, News Editor
Alejandro Rojas is The Daily Iowan's news editor. He previously worked as a news reporter covering Johnson County and was the summer executive editor in 2023. He is a senior, double majoring in journalism and political science.