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Jim Daily chosen for county commission
Former Barton County Sheriff Jim Daily talks about why he would like to be appointed to fill a vacancy on the Barton County Commission, Monday night at the Barton County Republican Central Committee Convention. Daily was one of eight nominees and won the majority of the votes on the seventh ballot. - photo by Susan Thacker

Former Barton County Sheriff Jim Daily is set to become Commissioner Jim Daily, filling a vacancy created last month when Alicia Straub, Ellinwood, resigned to take Greg Lewis’s 113th District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Eight individuals were nominated when the Barton County Republican Central Committee convened Monday night at the courthouse to choose a recommendation for commissioner. Audience members heard from each candidate: Daily, Dale Dirks, Carl Helm, Julie Peterson, Jon Prescott, William Rains, Terry Gaunt and Rick Davis.

His name will be submitted to Gov. Laura Kelly, who can approve or reject the appointment. If no action is taken, Daily will automatically assume the post.

Glad to be back

Daily was elected to three terms as Barton County Sheriff, serving from 1989-2001. He went on to be the Newton Chief of Police until he retired four years ago.

He moved back to Barton County last September and now lives between Great Bend and Ellinwood.

“When this came open my wife (Janet) and I chatted,” Daily said, adding he’s looking forward to giving something back to the people of Barton County once again. “That’s my entire goal.”

Daily said his strengths include his understanding of where tax dollars come from and how they can best be spent.

“The county has been fairly progressive.” Daily said he’s looking forward to being part of the decision making process.

Although he’s been gone for a while, Daily said Barton County became his home in 1973. Now 66 years old, Daily said, “It’s a pleasure to be back.” 

Richard Friedeman, chairman of the Barton County Republican Central Committee, presided over the nominating convention. Eleven party committee members who live in Straub’s district were eligible to vote but the meeting room at the courthouse was filled with many more who came to watch.

“I am very impressed with the quality of the candidates that we have,” Friedeman said. More than one candidate commented that whoever won would be a good choice; they described years of experience in business, management or service to the community.

“Jim Daily cares deeply about Barton County,” said Ricki Maddox, who nominated the former sheriff. “He is a strong leader with a long history of public service.”

County Clerk Donna Zimmerman and former Rep. John Edmonds served as the tally committee, handing out ballots and counting them. With eight candidates, the members needed to vote several times until one person received a majority of 6 or more votes.

After the third, fourth and fifth ballot all showed Dirks and Daily with four votes each and Prescott with three, the sixth ballot changed to Dirks 5, Daily 4 and Prescott 2. After a short break, Prescott said he would drop out so the final vote could be between Dirks and Daily, and Daily received the six votes needed to be declared the winner.