Nixa Mayor To Stay In Office After Recall Effort Over Masks

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2021 file photo, Brian Steele, Mayor of Nixa, is seen next to one of his campaign signs in Nixa, Missouri.  Steele, who became the subject of a recall effort for imposing a mask mandate to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 will remain in office. KYTV-TV reports that only about a quarter of voters in Nixa on Tuesday, Nov. 2, supported the recall of Steele.  He can serve the remainder of his term, which expires in April 2023.  (AP Photo/Bruce E. Stidham FILE)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2021 file photo, Brian Steele, Mayor of Nixa, is seen next to one of his campaign signs in Nixa, Missouri. Steele, who became the subject of a recall effort for imposing a mask mandate to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 will remain in office. KYTV-TV reports that only about a quarter of voters in Nixa on Tuesday, Nov. 2, supported the recall of Steele. He can serve the remainder of his term, which expires in April 2023. (AP Photo/Bruce E. Stidham FILE)

NIXA, Mo. (AP) — A southwestern Missouri mayor who became the subject of a recall effort for imposing a mask mandate to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 will remain in office.

Only about a quarter of voters in Nixa on Tuesday supported the recall of Mayor Brian Steele, KYTV-TV reported. He can serve the remainder of his term, which expires in April 2023.

The recall effort in Nixa, a town of about 21,000 residents 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) south of Springfield, came after Steele issued an executive order in 2020 to require masks. Supporters of the recall argued the city council should make that decision, not the mayor.

The mandate had already expired this summer when a group opposed to the mandate gathered enough signatures to trigger the recall vote. Steele was among several elected officials across the country facing similar recall efforts over mask mandates and COVID-protocols.

“Based on the facts we knew at that time, I don’t think I would have done anything different than I would now,” Steele said. “I had the support of my entire city council. Almost all of them were out there today at the polls helping me out. That shows that we made the decision that needed to be made at that time.”

Recall committee member Skipp Phipps said that despite the defeat, the recall still sends a message that Nixa needs “representatives that will involve and listen to the people.”