This week’s elections in Iowa produced a number of interesting results, but what happened in Algona is especially unusual. Ray Morgan was the only registered candidate for mayor, but a majority of voters in the north-central Iowa town wrote-in the name Lynn Kueck. Kueck, who previously served as Algona’s mayor for more than a decade, collected 761 write-in votes out of over 1,200 ballots.
“I’m very humbled that many people in Algona would write me in and support me to come back to the mayor’s office,” Kueck told Radio Iowa. “It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy. It energizes me to want to get back in the office and get back to work again.” Kueck’s return to the office comes a year-and-a-half after he resigned with little explanation. Kueck says he felt like he was doing the right thing at the time.
“My wife passed away in 2007, so I was in a state of grief,” Kueck explained. “When you make decisions when you’re in grief, they’re not always clear decisions. So, I made a decision to step aside and no longer be the mayor of Algona.” A number of Kueck’s supporters approached him last summer and asked him to run for mayor again. Kueck says he turned to his faith for an answer.
“And when I prayed on the issue, it was the Lord’s way of telling me that ‘if you’re to return, allow the people a chance to write you in.’ That would, I guess, demonstrate that they truly want (me) back. It was just a direction that I felt I got from my Lord.” The Kueck supporters formed a six-member committee to raise money for yard signs and advertising. Kueck says one of their concerns was making sure everyone who wrote in his name, spelled it correctly (K-U-E-C-K).
“The committee was quite concerned…they didn’t want a lot of spoiled ballots based upon a misspelling,” Kueck said. “So, they created a business card that included ‘write in Lynn Kueck for mayor’ and that way people would have a sort of helping sheet to get them on the right track.” A sign leading into Algona reads “On the Right Track.”
The slogan was placed on a railroad underpass by Kueck shortly after he was first elected mayor in 1997. Kueck says he’s not sure how many people might have misspelled his name. “When I went to vote myself, some of the poll workers told me there were several times a head would pop up from the voting area and say ‘how do you spell Kueck?’ They were not allowed to actually tell them as poll workers. So, based on that, I guess there would have been a few,” Kueck said.
Kueck will officially take office on January 1.