Dan Dan the Magic Man is now Dan the city councilman.
Dan Heath, a teacher at Great Bend High School who moonlights as a professional magician, was elected Tuesday in the Great Bend City Council contest to represent the First Ward, with 59 percent of the votes. Incumbent H. Mike Boys received 38 percent and write-in candidate Richard Charles pulled in less than 3 percent.
In the three-way race for Ward Two council member, Jolene Biggs won with 48 percent of the votes; Rachel E. Mawhirter won 27 percent and Matt Suchy pulled in 25 percent.
Ward Three also had a three-way race, with the most votes — nearly 50 percent — going to Cory Urban. Stacy Dougherty received 40 percent of the votes and Thomas Boor received 10 percent.
Andrew Scott Erb, a student at Barton Community College, was the only name on the ballot for the Fourth Ward, but Jim Gordee staged an aggressive write-in campaign. Erb received 75 percent of the votes while 25 percent went to Gordee.
Boys was the only incumbent seeking reelection. As he delivered Meals on Wheels on election day, he said he had fun asking one woman in his ward if she was going to “vote to keep the scoundrels in or vote to get the scoundrels out.” Her answer: “I’m going to vote to get those scoundrels out.”
Boys said he would be fine with the outcome of Tuesday’s election, win or lose.
“As long as whoever is there puts all their personal differences aside and listens to the people, that’s all that counts,” he said. “Whoever is in any office needs to do what the people want.”
Heath, in addition to being a teacher and magician, is a business owner. He and Sheriff Brian Bellendir opened A440 Musical Instruments.
“I was excited by the idea of getting involved in the community,” Heath said. He’s been in the community for 16 years. “This is my home now.”
Heath filed to run for office two months before controversy erupted in city government. He said he and Boys get along fine; they’re both on the Crest Theater Board and both of them felt confident that whoever won would do a good job. They joked about campaigning for each other.
“I think this is a great opportunity for a new council to step up and bring new ideas and energy and a new era of transparency and excitement,” Heath said. “That bodes well for all of us. I was also very excited about the turnout.”
Voter turnout was higher than usual for an off-year election, Heath said. To him, that indicates people are engaged.
Jolene Biggs is an account executive with Insurance Planning Inc.
“I’m honored to be elected,” Biggs said. “I am looking forward to serving on the council and serving the people of Great Bend.”
Urban is employed in the oil industry and volunteers as a coach for the Great Bend Recreation Commission. He was available for comment Tuesday evening.
Erb is president of the Student Government Association at Barton Community College, where he is studying political science. He also works as a hospitality specialist at Stoneridge Country Club.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics,” Erb said. “I want to give back to people here in town who have done so much for me. Great Bend is a great community.”
Erb said outgoing fourth ward councilman Dana Dawson deserved credit for mentoring him and guiding him through the election. Like Heath, Erb was pleased with the strong voter turnout.
“I will be supporting an open door policy,” he said in conclusion.
These are the unofficial Tuesday-night totals.
Dan Heath 335
H. Mike Boys 218
Richard Charles/Write-in 14
Jolene Biggs 604
Rachel E. Mawhirter 335
Matt Suchy 307
Cory Urban 375
Stacy Dougherty 302
Thomas Boor 77
Andrew Scott Erb 187
Jim Gordee/write-in 62