In the first-ever non-partisan primary in Barton County held for the Great Bend City Council Ward 1 Tuesday, Jessica Milsap and Alan Moeder stamped their ticket to the Nov. 6 general election.
The two were among five candidates for the seat, with only the top two vote-getters advancing. The other contestants included Josh Ellis, Bradley E. McCune and Bobby Lee Roller.
The unofficial vote totals were: Moeder, 243; Milsap, 140; Roller, 38; Ellis, 33; and McCune, 27. The votes won’t be finalized until they are canvassed by the Barton County Commission Monday morning.
There were elections for one seat in each of Great Bend’s four council wards, but only Ward 1 required a runoff.
The candidates in the other three wards include: Chad Somers and James Breitenbach in Ward 2; Jacob Davis and Dana Dawson in Ward 3; and Brock McPherson in Ward 4.
“This is just the first stage,” Moeder said. Now he has his eyes on November.
“I just want to make a difference on the City Council,” he said. “I want to see everyone work together, and if they disagree, disagree with respect towards each other.”
Moeder is a lifelong resident of Great Bend, graduating from Great Bend High School and attending Barton Community College. He has owned and operated Moeder Plumbing, Heating and Air since 1982 and has owned A&G Catering since 2014.
He is a past president of Optimists Club and past chairman of Barton County Relay for Life. He is a member of Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of the Eagles and Sons of the American Legion in Great Bend.
“I want a positive Great Bend,” Moeder said. “That’s the way we need to go.”
Milsap could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
She serves as a Great Bend Chamber of Commerce ambassador and is a member of Barton County Young Professionals. She’s a licensed Realtor with MPIRE and a personal trainer at the Fieldhouse. She has two daughters, Samantha and Taylor, and a grandson, Braxton.
This Great Bend First Ward race was at the heart of some election confusion. Until recent state legislation, such non-partisan races were not included in a primary. But, now in cities that have council districts (or wards), if there are more than three candidates for one seat, there must be a primary.
That was the case here. According to the new election laws, the two top vote-getters will then move to the general election.
This meant county election officials had to have three different ballots:
• The Republican ballot. GOP voters could vote in their partisan primary races and, if they lived in Great Bend Ward 1, vote in the city council race.
• The Democratic ballot. Democratic voters could vote in their partisan primary and, as above, if they lived in Great Bend Ward 1, vote in the city council race.
• Strictly a City of Great Bend ballot. This was only for Ward 1 and was for voters who opt not to affiliate with a party and for third party voters (Libertarians).
This was the only race in which these voters could cast their ballots.