Leavenworth County Commission race now at 3; filing deadline for independents is Friday

Candidates as of now for Leavenworth County Commission's new Fifth District are, from left Tonganoxie's David Frese (I), Linwood's Stuart Sweeney (D) and Mike Stieben (R). Deadline for submitting petitions to Leavenworth County Clerk Janet Klasinski is 5 p.m. Friday. Enlarge photo

January 23, 2019

The field is much clearer in the new district race in southern Leavenworth County after Saturday's Republican appointment, though there are still a few days for more independents to get on the ballot.

A convention of county Republican voters selected Mike Stieben as its nominee for the new Leavenworth County Commission’s Fifth District.

“I am extremely grateful for the support of Republican Party leaders as I begin to campaign to represent the citizens of southern Leavenworth County,” Stieben said in a press release. “I look forward to establishing fiscal responsibility, protecting conservative values and creating an environment that attracts new business and industry.”

Stieben joins Stuart Sweeney, the Democratic nominee from Linwood, and David Frese, an independent candidate from Tonganoxie. A Democratic convention nominated Sweeney last week, while Frese joined the race after amassing the required 400 valid signatures among district voters to join the race.

Sweeney and Jerry Pruitt both showed interested in being the nominee at the Democratic convention. Sweeney received six votes and Pruitt one. Stieben earned six votes to Tammy Kane’s four in winning the Republican nomination.

According to his press release, Stieben resides in Tonganoxie and works as a locomotive engineer for BNSF railroad, where he has been for 23 years. He has been actively involved in Republican politics, having served as a precinct committeeman, district delegate, and on the Kansas State Republican Committee.

He has four children, is a member of Elm Grove Baptist Church, and is a former member of the Genesis Christian School Board of Trustees. He was recently elected to serve as the Alternative Legislative Representative for Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Division No. 75, in which he also serves as a trustee.

“My goal as a Commissioner will be to bring transparency to our County government, restore professionalism, build accountability processes for personnel management, and maintain conservative community values. We must have openness in our County government, we must be advocates for the people, and we need to be very careful not to sign confidentiality agreements for industrial developments that will have negative cultural and economic effects on our entire community. I’m ready to represent the interests of southern Leavenworth County.”

There also will be a special election for the new Fourth District, which covers Lansing, Delaware Township and a portion of southeast Leavenworth.

The Fifth District includes Tonganoxie and Linwood.

Fourth District candidates are Republican Chad Schimke, Democrat Troy Smith and Independent Hank Spillman.

Per state statute, Republican and Democratic conventions must select a candidate for new commission district races, while independent candidates require a petition of valid voters.

Tonganoxie City Council Member Curtis Oroke had hopes of getting the Republican Party nomination, per his Facebook page, but he did not get nominated. Oroke announced through social media his plans to get on the ballot as an independent with the required valid signatures.

The deadline for petitions from independent candidates is 5 p.m. Friday.

The special election will be held March 26.

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