Wells wins in a rout; other questions remain

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Local News

November 6, 2019 - 10:07 AM

While the vote suggested otherwise, Iola Mayor Jon Wells insisted Tuesday his decisive re-election bid was anything but easy.

“It looks easy at the end,” he said, “but we fought hard.”

Wells counted the number of public events he attended in recent weeks and months as part of his re-election bid, and a vigorous “get out the vote” campaign as key elements to his strong showing.

“I do want to thank everyone for putting their faith back in me.”

Wells has emphasized rebuilding Iola’s infrastructure as one of his focal points as mayor.

“We’ve got some decisions to make,” he said. “We’re going to move forward.”

In Tuesday’s vote, Wells brought in a whopping 67 percent of the vote in the three-way mayoral race with City Councilman Ron Ballard and Larry Walden. Wells received 578 votes, compared to Ballard’s 163 and Walden’s 125.

“I’m pleased and surprised by the overwhelming support,” Wells said later on Twitter. “This was a great win. I also want to thank my opponents for their willingness to run. It’s hard to put yourself out there and your ideas and I commend them on their campaigns.

“I look forward to being not just my supporters’ mayor but the mayor for the entire city,” he said.

Ballard, who will retain his Council seat, thanked his supporters on Facebook. “I will still fight on City Council for everyone,” he said.

 

THERE was little drama in three of the four Iola City Council seats.

Kim Peterson earned 69 percent of the vote in her bid for a full term for her Ward 3 seat. (She was appointed to fill a vacancy last December.) Challenger Kyle King received 28 percent.

The remaining intrigue for the city is in who will represent Ward 2. Nobody filed by the June deadline to have their names placed on the ballot. Since then, former City Administrator Carl Slaugh and Mike McKinnis, a professor at Pittsburg State University, announced they would seek write-in votes to earn the seat.

A total of 85 write-in votes were cast, but the write-in names will not be revealed until the election is canvassed and certified by Allen County commissioners Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, former Councilman Steve French brought in 74 percent of the vote to earn back his seat in Ward 4. Ben Alexander, who dropped out of the race, but not in time to have his name pulled from the ballot, still received 48 votes, or 25 percent of the total vote. Incumbent Aaron Franklin declined to file for re-election

Nickolas Kinder was unopposed in his bid to replace the outgoing Chase Martin in Ward 1.

 

HUMBOLDT voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a half-cent sales tax to fund street repairs, by a margin of 85 percent to 15 percent (306 votes to 52.)

Humboldt’s four City Council candidates, Paul Cloutier, Jeffrey Bowman, Otis Crawford and Sunny Shreeve, all were unopposed in their bids, as was Mayor Nobby Davis.

 

THE TIGHTEST race of the night — with five candidates seeking four seats on the Marmaton Valley USD 256 Board of Education — won’t be decided until the election is canvassed.

That’s because Jim Armonstrong Sr. and Joe Sutton tied for the fourth and final BOE seat. Each received 112 votes as of Tuesday.

If the vote is still deadlocked on Nov. 18 — mail-in votes postmarked Tuesday still will be counted if they are received by County Clerk Sherrie Riebel by Friday — then a random drawing will determine the winner. Plus, there remains the potential for provisional ballots to make a difference. A provisional ballot is cast when a voter’s name does not match what is on the official registry. If it’s proven the voter is properly registered, the vote will count. If not, the vote is rejected.

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