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After the death of former Lord Mayor, Joachim Erwin, who died in office, on 2 June 2008 Elbers was a candidate for the CDU to become mayor. The election took place on 31 August 2008. Dirk Elbers won this election on the first ballot with 59.7% of the vote against his candidate against Karin Kortmann from the SPD. The turnout was around 38%.