Tellefson wins First District seat on county commission
Democratic challengers defeat incumbents Ryun, Kline
In an election that was tough on the GOP, Republican J.C. Tellefson came out the victor Tuesday -- in a Democratic county commission district.
Tellefson of rural Leavenworth beat Democrat Ed Sass of Easton, 2,282 to 2,034, in a race for the First District county commission seat. The commission district is in the northern part of the county.
In January, Tellefson, 53, will replace Don Navinsky, who is retiring after 12 years on the commission. The other two county commissioners -- Clyde Graeber and Dean Oroke -- were not up for re-election.
Contacted shortly after he was declared the winner, Tellefson said he
thought he and Sass ran strong campaigns.
"I don't think either of us left anything undone," he said.
Since 1995, he's worked as a stockbroker and financial counselor. In recent years he worked for the Veterans Administration where he located jobs for veterans. He's currently on a leave of absence. Tellefson, who is 53, and his wife, Cheryl, have two grown children.
Tellefson said he spent innumerable hours, knocking on doors in his district and talking with residents.
"I got a lot of good information from a lot of people," he said. "I don't know that we're going to stop that."
He said he would like to continue talking with residents, and hopes he can get back out in his district in March.
"I don't think any of us is hurt by too much information," he said. "There are a lot of people who just felt disenfranchised, and I don't want that to be the case in four years."
For the next two months, Tellefson will be working to educate himself further about issues on the commission agenda.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. ''... I look forward to successes and challenges. The county is just an absolute gem. It doesn't even need to be shaped. It just needs to be polished a little bit."
Also on Tuesday, Democrats upset incumbent Republicans in two important statewide offices.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, won re-election. Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican, lost to Republican-turned-Democrat Paul Morrison. In his U.S. House re-election bid, Congressman Jim Ryun, another Republican, was defeated by Nancy Boyda.