ELECTION CENTRAL: Leavenworth County Commission Fifth District race still could be up in air
The Leavenworth County Commission Fifth District race might not be over just yet.
Mike Stieben appeared to be the winner of the new district’s first election after votes were counted Tuesday.
But County Clerk Janet Klasinski said there still were some mail-in ballots to be counted, along with provisional. Plus, advance ballots postmarked by Tuesday also are being counted.
With five of five precincts reporting Tuesday night. Stieben, a Tonganoxie Republican, had 654 votes in what turned out to be a tight three-person race.
Tonganoxie Independent David Frese tallied 621 and Linwood Independent Stuart Sweeney 591.
Tonganoxie City Council Member Curtis Oroke, who also ran as an independent, had 191 votes.
Klasinski said there were anywhere from 400-500 mail-in ballots between the new Fourth and Fifth districts that hadn’t been returned as of Wednesday morning, Klasinski said. How many of them will be returned and how many are in each district will be known soon. Klasinski will be preparing a final count for the Wednesday, April 3, canvassing at the Leavenworth County Commission meeting. Election results will be official once canvassing concludes.
Voter turnout in the new Fifth District was a bit better than the Fourth District, but combined it was about 21 percent. There were 3,321 ballots cast among 15,765 total registered voters in the two districts.
Klasinski anticipated a higher turnout with the election coming on the heels of the Give Me Five campaign that helped increase the number of commissioners in Leavenworth County from three to five. That question passed in the November election.
Special elections, though, can have lower turnout anyway.
Whoever takes office in the two districts, they again will need to run again next year and in 2020 to keep their seat. The additional elections will get the districts in the proper voting rotation with the original three seats.
The new commissioners are expected to take office April 10. If they want to remain in office, they will need to run again in the November 2020 election, which likely will have high voter turnout being a presidential election year. If either of the two commissioners loses that election, a new commissioner would take office in January 2021.
Republican Chad R. Schimke will be the first commissioner serving the Fourth District.
He had 654 votes. Independent Hank Spellman had 382 votes and Democrat Troy Smith 349.
CURRENT FIFTH DISTRICT RESULTS
Mike Stieben (R) 654
David Frese (I) 621
Stuart Sweeney (D) 591
Curtis D. Oroke (I) 191