Lee wins county position

David Lee, LaHarpe, defeated Michelle Meiwes for the District 2 seat on the Allen County commission. In other races, local Republicans Kent Thompson and Caryn Tyson handily defeated Democrat candidates.

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Local News

November 4, 2020 - 10:26 AM

Humboldt citizens cast their ballots at Humboldt’s Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon. Dorcas Romary, an election worker at the church, remarked that turnout has “been heavy. It’s been pretty steady all day.” Photo by Tim Stauffer / Iola Register

LaHarpe’s David Lee will take a seat on the Allen County Commission come January.

Tuesday’s election results also will remove a requirement that drinking establishments in Allen County must earn 30% of their sales from food. The measure was initiated by a Humboldt development group.

More than 65% of the county’s voters turned out for the election. All results are unofficial until canvassed by commissioners.

David Lee

Lee, a Republican, defeated Democrat Michelle Meiwes with nearly 73% of the vote, 1,470 to 541. He will fill a seat being vacated by Bill King, who was appointed to the seat in 2018 but chose not to run for a full term.

“I’m very appreciative of the residents in District 2 and their supporting me in this endeavor,” he said. “I learned quite a bit going door to door.”

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve,” he added, and also praised his opponent Meiwes as “a great candidate.”

In a conversation with Meiwes, she said “It might just not be my time. It’s what’s supposed to be. It’ll all be fine.”

Michelle Meiwes

“I have learned so much about the process,” she added. “It’s been an exciting time for me.”

She also wanted to thank the current county commission for their guidance, and expressed gratitude for “all the support I’ve gotten from people.”

That was the only contested race at the county level. Incumbent commissioner Bruce Symes ran unopposed, earning 1,658 votes.

TWO Humboldt Democrats who ran for the Kansas Legislature were handily defeated. 

Kent Thompson

Incumbent Republican Kent Thompson of LaHarpe will keep his 9th District seat in the House of Representatives, winning nearly 77% of the vote over Humboldt’s Alana Cloutier. In Allen County, Thompson earned 3,884 votes to Cloutier’s 1,171. In the district, Thompson won 6,683 to 2,229.

“Rep. Kent Thompson and I both ran clean campaigns,” Cloutier said. “I’m proud that all of us in the 9th will be represented by someone who didn’t put out attack ads. In an incredibly divisive election season, we both stuck to talking about the issues, and what is best for the district. I’m really proud of that. If the worst thing people online can say about me is that I’m originally from California, then I think we did OK.”

Alana Cloutier

Cloutier said she ran to encourage more Democrats to run in rural districts. Kansas voters tend to lean Republican, and many races are decided in the primary election where Democrats are not allowed to vote. The state benefits if all voters have a chance to decide the outcome, she said.

“Hopefully more people heard that message and if even one person is considering running for something in the future that feels like a win.

Incumbent 12 District Senator Caryn Tyson, a Republican, won her race by 68% against Humboldt Democratic Party Chairman Mike Bruner. Allen County votes came in 3,931 for Tyson and 1,818 for Bruner. District votes were 23,712 to 8,114.

Sen. Caryn TysonCourtesy photo

After the race, Bruner congratulated his opponent and thanked his supporters.

Thompson and Tyson were not available for comment before today’s newspaper deadline. 

Mike BrunerCourtesy photo

Other county incumbents who ran unopposed included Sheriff Bryan Murphy, Clerk Sherrie Riebel, Treasurer Darolyn (Crickett) Maley, Register of Deeds Cara Barkdoll and Attorney Jerry B. Hathaway.

THE BALLOT included a question whether to exempt the county from a requirement that drinking establishments must include 30% of sales from food. The question passed by nearly 68%, 3,827 to 1,825.

The measure would allow for businesses like breweries and bars to open without the need for a kitchen or other food sales. 

The Roth family of Humboldt waits to cast their vote at Humboldt’s Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon. From left, they are Marie, Abigail, 2, Nathaniel, 4, father Timothy holding baby Shiloh of six weeks, and Levi, 7. Photo by Tim Stauffer / Iola Register

A Bolder Humboldt brought the question to the county and lobbied for its passage. The group is planning several projects that could benefit, Paul Cloutier said. 

“It makes it easier for some of the projects,” Cloutier said. “When we come out of the other end of COVID and people are able to safely open businesses again, this will allow businesses to open more quickly, have fewer restrictions and kick start the recovery process.”

TUESDAY’S ELECTION brought a flood of votes, both in advance and at the polls. 

The county reported a record 2,791 in advance votes, including those who voted by mail and those who voted early, in person.

Monica Melendez, right, and her daughter Serena pose before voting at Humboldt’s Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday’s election was Serena’s first time voting, while Monica called the election “the most important of my lifetime.” Photo by Tim Stauffer / Iola Register

Another 3,039 turned out on Election Day.

At the polling location in Humboldt, several voters shared their thoughts.

Serena Melendez, 18, of Humboldt, took part in her first presidential election. 

“I’m kind of nervous,” she said. “My grandfather really wanted me to vote today, so I’m doing it for him.” 

She was accompanied by her mother Monica Melendez.

“This is the most important election I’ve ever lived through, and this is my daughter’s first time voting. So this is a big day for us, and for her.”

Scott Murrow of Humboldt checks in to vote at Humboldt’s Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon.Photo by Tim Stauffer / Iola Register

Curt Whitaker of Humboldt said he believes that “all of us need to band together. I don’t like the way this country’s headed and the only way we can fix it is for each of us to vote.” 

Scott Murrow of Humboldt said he is “really excited about the record voter turnout.” 

Dorcas Romary, an election worker at Humboldt, remarked that turnout has “been heavy. It’s been pretty steady all day.”

James Acres, Humboldt, said he voted because “I’ve always voted; it’s our American duty.”

The Register’s Tim Stauffer and Trevor Hoag contributed to this article.

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