ORANGE CITY—One of the most widely watched races in N’West Iowa ended up being a one-sided affair.
Orange City voters overwhelmingly supported incumbent mayor Deb De Haan over her challenger, Dr. Kurt Korver, in Tuesday’s mayoral election.
According to unofficial election results on the Sioux County website, 2,385 votes were cast for the mayoral election of which De Haan received 1,813, 76 percent, while Korver took in 566, slightly less than 24 percent.
“I’m relieved and very humbled and really am thankful,” De Haan said. “I feel incredibly supported by the citizens of Orange City. It’s a race like we’ve never had in Orange City before.”
De Haan, Orange City’s first female mayor, and the city government has faced backlash from some residents for allowing the annual OC Pride festival to rent and hold activities in city-owned facilities, specifically the Prairie Winds Event Center.
The matter of OC Pride was at the forefront of Korver’s campaign, since the ear, nose and throat specialist has vocally opposed the LGBTQ group holding drag shows at Prairie Winds the last two years.
De Haan, a registered nurse at Orange City Area Health System, has served as mayor for six years and focused her re-election campaign on continuing to spur economic growth and increasing access to housing opportunities for city residents.
Korver has argued OC Pride runs counter to the community’s moral values and Christian heritage, which he had promised to defend if elected mayor.
De Haan expressed gratitude for the number of voters who turned out for the election, regardless of the candidate for whom they voted.
“It’s always good when you have high voter turnout so your citizens have a voice in the election,” she said.
Korver acknowledged the mayor’s victory and the wide margin by which he lost.
“To use colloquial terms, the election was a shellacking,” he said. “I realize the Democrats and OC Pride supporters would vote for Deb because of my message standing up for our Christian heritage. But I sincerely hope that many of the others that voted for Deb did so not, because of the message, but because of a flawed messenger.”
He also said those who voted for De Haan could likely have done so because of her personality.
“Deb is a very nice woman and very popular,” he said.
Although he did not win the mayoral election, Korver thinks his campaign brought more attention to OC Pride. He also said he had spoken with Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom, two nonprofit organizations that advocate on issues relating to evangelical Christian principles.
“That was a big part of what we wanted to see the city leadership be able to do,” he said.
The Orange City mayor’s position is a two-year term.