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Ellinwood and Hoisington return incumbents while Pawnee Rock votes for change
Ballot questions in Hoisington and Claflin return positive
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Contested races in a handful of Barton County communities resulted in many familiar faces returning to serve another term, while elsewhere new faces will be sworn in when seats turn over in January. The following are unofficial results, which do not include provisional balots, those cast by voters who moved within the county or changed names. They will be finalized on Monday morning when the Barton County Commissioners, acting as the Board of Canvassers, count and certifiy votes.

In Hoisington, incumbent Christina Smith, Ward 4, faced off with former city council representative Robert Bruce, who lost his seat in 2018 to Gary Shook. A latecomer to the race, write-in candidate John Henderson also vied for the Ward 4 seat. 

Smith has resided in Hoisington for 52 years, and has a 10-year history of service on the Hoisington City Council. General community betterment has been and continues to be what drives her to serve.  

Bruce, a resident for 13 years, served from August 2016 through Jan. 2019, after being appointed in 2016 when Brian Wilborn moved out of the Ward and was forced to resign. He ran with a focus towards maintaining city infrastructure and keeping utility costs steady. 

Henderson grew up in Hoisington, and graduated from Fort Hays State University. After living and working in several West and Midwest states, he returned to Hoisington with his family. He ran with a stated goal of encouraging economic development. 

Election night results showed Smith on top with 46 votes, Bruce with 33, and a total of 41 write-in votes.

The Tribune reached Smith via telephone. There was no mistaking the relief in her voice, as she noted the close race made it a challenge to stay calm throughout the day. 

“I’m very happy,” she said. “I am so thankful that I get to continue to serve the community. It’s been a very important part of my life for the last 10 years. This is my home, my family’s home and it’s very important to me to make the decisions I feel are best for our community.” 

Hoisington ballot question

Residents of the City of Hoisington were also asked to decide if they wished to keep a half-cent retailers’ sales tax in effect which was slated to roll off the books at the end of September, 2020. By choosing yes, they gave a nod to expanding the uses of the tax from simply maintaining and improving public streets and infrastructure and stabilizing the property tax levy to also include improving, maintaining,equipping and constructing a public swimming pool and to provide improvements as necessary to enhance the public’s quality of life. The tax will take effect on Oct. 1, 2020.

City Manager Jonathan Mitchell was pleased about the final tally with 302 in favor and 99 against. 

“ I look at our turnout tonight, and I was so thrilled that so many of our residents made it a priority to go out and vote. The passage of this half-cent sales tax will allow for us to set priorities going forward and have some important discussions in the near term.” 

Hoisington USD 431 Board of Education

The Hoisington USD 431 Board of Education had five candidates vying for three available positions. Don Fisher, Dean Stoskopf, and Rebecca Mooney were the incumbents, and Jessica Ann Baze and Maggie McCain were the newcomers. With Fisher receiving 382 votes, Mooney 379 and Stoskopf 370, incumbents secured their seats for another term. 

Ellinwood USD 355 Board of Education

In Ellinwood, seven individuals ran to fill four seats, Incumbents were John Sturn, Jason Winget, Darren Beckwith and Virginia Fullbright, all of whom were originally appointed to their seats, with Beckwith, Fullbright and Sturn then being elected for additional terms. Newcomers were Michael S. Miller, Drew Hosman and Mark Batchman. 

Top vote getters were Fullbright with 250, Sturn with 237, Beckwith with 232 and Winget with 229. Next in line was Batchman with 222, Hosman with 159 and Miller with 154. 

In addition, two candidates vied to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired term, as Ellinwood school board members serve four-year terms. They were Whitney Asher, who is the current appointee, and Linda Borror. Asher will finish out the term having received 261 votes to Borror’s 131. 

Pawnee Rock Mayor and City Council

Pawnee Rock voters traveled to Great Bend to cast their ballots this year. Two candidates vied for mayor, incumbent Linda McCowan-Waite and newcomer Terry Mead. Terry Mead won with 40 votes to McCowan-Waite’s 20 votes. 

“The turn out we had this year reflects the citizens desire for change and I look forward to supporting that change.,” Mead stated in an email to the Tribune. “So that the city government can truly represent our community, public meetings will be much more open to public comments in direct support of our first amendment rights. The elected representatives must hear the citizens in order to effectively represent them. I am proud to have been chosen and look forward to supporting the citizens of Pawnee Rock.”

McCowan-Waite also responded via email.

“Pawnee Rock is a super little town that has been my home since 1991. I love its history, culture, and the citizens who live here. I’ve been blessed to be able to serve as Mayor of Pawnee Rock and work with the best city employees. They are dedicated, honest, and go above and beyond to also serve our town. I thank those who have supported me so kindly.”

Voters also picked two city council members from a field of three: Incumbents Debora Bader and Christein Mead, and newcomer Lakin Dill. Mead was on top with 37 votes, and Dill a close second with 36, and Bader in third with 26 votes. There were also nine write-in votes. 

Claflin ballot question

Claflin had no contested positions, but did have one ballot question. Similar to Hoisington, the city voted to determine if it would keep a half-cent retailers’ sales tax on the books that is set to roll-off in 2020. Votes in favor were 129 to 78 against. With its passing, the city will continue to raise additional revenue to provide and adequate level of public service within the city and for the purpose of controlling the city mill levy. The tax is set to sunset in 10 years. 

Barton County Clerk and Election Officer Donna Zimmerman announced early Tuesday that tallying of write-in votes will not be finished until Wednesday. 

Central Plains USD 112 Board of Education results:

Pos. 3: Tamara Dody, 129; Melissa Hubbard, 65; Josh Wimmer, 11.

Pos. 7 (at large): Chad M. Rogers, 357;Mishelle A. Brokes, 43;