In the First Barton County Commission District, auctioneer and Democratic incumbent Kenny Schremmer of Hoisington kept his seat by defeating Republican challenger and 9-12 Coalition organizer Kyle Radenberg of rural Barton County, garnering about 62 percent of the vote.
According to the Barton County Clerk’s Office, preliminary general election results gave Schremmer 953 votes and Radenberg 587. There were also two write-in votes.
The tallies won’t be finalized until the votes are canvassed by the commission Friday. The new commission (which includes newcomer Republican Don Cates of Claflin who defeated Democrat Frank Koelsch of Ellinwood in the Fourth District) takes office in January.
The First District takes in about the northwest two-thirds of the county and includes Albert, Beaver, Galatia and Hoisington.
Although Schremmer could not be reached Tuesday night for comment, he had earlier said he wanted to continue to foster cooperation between the county and the cities within it. "For eight years, I have been trying to make that happen for the betterment of everyone," he said. "I think the county is doing what it needs to do."
He also said the county is in good financial condition and he wants to keep it that way. Other goals he has for his next term are to see the veterans circle completed at Golden Belt Cemetery and a key township road connecting Boyd Road with West 10th Street paved. "I want to gradually reduce the mill levy, but keep the county solvent and able to address unexpected needs."
"It’s not the way I had hoped," Radenberg said. But, "I wish Kenny well."
Radenberg said she wasn’t sure where her campaign ran aground. "A lot of the people I talked to said they were excited that I would do the job for no money," she said. But that wasn’t enough to turn the tide.
For now, she is just going to play politics by ear. "I don’t have any immediate plans."
Radenberg, from South Homestead Township, served as the Barton County appraiser, a non-elected position, from 2002 to June, 2007. That’s when the Barton County Commission voted to terminate her based on complaints about how the public was treated by the appraiser and about the quality of appraisals. However, the commission in November 2007 voted to pay her $115,000 to buy out the remainder of her contract, rather than go into possible legal proceedings over her termination.
Prior to moving to Barton County, she worked as deputy county appraiser in Butler County.
Elsewhere in the county, in the commission Fourth District, Cates, owner of the 94 Store, defeated Koelsch, who currently serves as the mayor of Ellinwood and is a real estate agent with J.W. Jaco in Great Bend, by 1,038 to 650 with three write-ins. They vied for the seat vacated by Kirby Krier ,who opted not to seek for another term. The district covers the southeast part of the county including the cities of Ellinwood and Claflin.
In the Fifth District, incumbent Great Bend Republican Jennifer Schartz was the only candidate. She received 1,380 votes. There were also 18 write-ins. The district covers the southeast corner of the county, including the southeast portion of Great Bend and Pawnee Rock. Schartz also works as the public relations director for Unified School District 428 in Great Bend.