Council, school board primaries loom
An 11th hour flurry of filings has not only brought a wealth of candidates for the seven positions available on the Baldwin City Council and Baldwin School Board, it has also forced a primary election on Feb. 27.
"Looks like you're going to have two," said Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew regarding a primary election.
In both the city council and school board races, seven people filed. There are three openings on the council and four on the school board. However, there will only be one race on the school board. Three incumbents will run unopposed, while four people filed for the position No. 7 at-large opening.
In the city council race, incumbents Tony Brown, Nancy Brown and Ted Brecheisen Jr. will face challengers Ken Wagner, Kenneth Niehoff, Jennifer Hayes and Jason Mock. Wagner is a former city council member and Mock, a junior at Baker University, ran for a council post two years ago unsuccessfully.
For school board, incumbents Alison Bauer, Blaine Cone and Scott Lauridsen will retain positions. Lauridsen filed for the No. 2 position where incumbent Lonnie Broers had decided not to seek re-election. Lauridsen had been elected to the at-large post.
The four candidates running for the at-large position are Teresa Arnold, Joshua Mihesuah, Dave Wagner and Doug Mead.
Shew's office has been watching the filings closely and it didn't look like there would be much action for quite awhile. That all changed, especially on Monday and all the way to the noon deadline Tuesday.
"It is a surprise," said Shew. "Baldwin City Council was surprising. We knew we were going to have a primary for position 7. It was really today (Tuesday) that really changed city council."
The three city council incumbents filed earlier. Wagner, Niehoff and Hayes filed Monday. Mock filed Tuesday, which forced the primary.
It was similar on the school board. The three incumbents filed early. Arnold filed about two weeks ago. Mead, Miheusuah and Wagner all filed Monday, forcing the primary.
"We were watching Baldwin City and Eudora for a long time," he said. "There wasn't any activity. Eudora ended up with three candidates for three positions.
"It will be interesting," Shew said of the Baldwin City races.
The primary will eliminate two of the four candidates for the school board race and one from the city council slate. Unlike primaries in the past in the school district where district seats were up for election so voters from only those districts could vote, everyone will vote in this primary.
"Since this is an at-large position, the entire district will get to vote," said Shew.
Unlike the general election, which will be April 3, Baldwin City will get to pick up the tab.
"One interesting thing about a primary is the cost is actually incurred by the local entity," he said. "Of course, it will be split between the school district and city."
Shew isn't sure what that cost will be since it's the first primary with the new voting machines, but he had a ball-park figure.
"We're looking at that," he said. "Probably $6,000 or so. It will cost the school district a little more because it's district wide."
Because some school district patrons vote out of the school district, determinations of where they will vote will have to be made. There are other factors that the county clerk's office needs to figure out, too. It's more work.
"Oh, a little bit," said Shew. "We'll spend the next day or so to figure out how we're going to do the primary."