Black Iowa candidates: What you need to know before the election

Are you ready to vote on Nov. 2?

The regular city and school election is less than two weeks away. A surprisingly large number of Black candidates are vying for seats — some amid hotly contested races about diversity and equity, policing and more. The election will be held on Nov. 2. Here's what you need to know to cast your vote.


Iowans will elect mayors and city council and school board members, plus make their preferences known on a variety of other measures.


More than three dozen Black candidates are running this year, and at least three Black mayors are up for reelection:

And, at least five new mayoral candidates are Black:

Black Iowa News has compiled a list of the candidates, which contains a link to their social media pages and their photos.


The election be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2. Absentee ballots must be received in county auditors’ offices by 8 p.m. that day.

Visit your county auditor's website for more information about where to vote and to view sample ballots.


Do you know where to vote? Want to see a sample ballot for your city? You can find this information on your county auditor’s website. (See above list). More information can also be found at the Iowa Secretary of State’s Voter Ready site.


Concerns and dissent about diversity and equity, among other hot button topics like face mask mandates, have sparked contentious races. Here are some of the reasons Black mayoral candidates have stated they’re running for elected office, according to their campaign social media and websites:

  • Andrews, who is running for mayor in Cedar Rapids, states: “I will bring the lived experience of someone who has had to work hard for everything.”
  • Moore, who is running for mayor in Ankeny, states: “Moore for Ankeny means just that; "Moore" unity, "Moore" community, "Moore" inclusion and "Moore" diversity. All of these concepts will continue to help our community thrive.”
  • Gilbraith, who is running for mayor in Davenport, states: “We need lasting change for Davenport. We cannot keep electing the same type of people over and over again, expecting different results.”
  • Mays, who is running for mayor in Waterloo, states: “My platform is yes, I am African American, and we should be further along than this, and a change is needed. We can do better than what we have now!”
  • Mbanza, running for mayor in North Liberty, states: “There's not enough diversity in our police department, city services, city government, local schools.”

Just Voices, an organization that fights racial profiling, will hold the online 2021 City Elections Forum, which will focus on racial justice and public safety, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. Attendees must register in advance at

Learn more about the city and school board candidates.

Black Iowa News Black Candidate List

Top democratic leader threatened

Iowa's first Black Democratic Chair Ross Wilburn received racist threats, which included a reference to lynching, after he wrote an opinion piece in the Des Moines Register about former president Donald Trump just before Trump's recent rally in Des Moines, the Register reported.

Speaking of that rally. Watch this.

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