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Straub wins District 4 commission seat by slim margin
alicia straub
Alicia (Schartz) Straub

It was a battle of Barton County natives as Alicia (Schartz) Straub narrowly defeated incumbent District 4 County Commissioner Ken Lebbin in the Republican primary Tuesday. Barring a successful write-in candidate in the November general election, Straub will assume the post come January.
 Straub received 420 votes, or 51.60 percent, to Lebbin’s 394 votes, or 48.40 percent. All the results are unofficial pending the canvassing of the votes by the County Commission at 8:30 a.m. next Monday prior to its agenda meeting at the Barton Count Courthouse.
District 4 encompasses the southeast corner of the county, including Ellinwood and Claflin, and South Bend, Comanche, Lakin, Logan and Independent townships.
“It’s exciting,” Straub said. “I’m looking forward to this.”
The Ellinwood resident said she knew it would be a close race. “There were two good candidates. Ken is well respected.”
Straub said she had filed to run for the position prior to Lebbin’s being appointed. Lebbin of Ellinwood Lebbin was named the Barton County District 4 commissioner after the death of Commissioner Don Cates in a agricultural airplane crash in April.
“I’ve considered running for the past year,” Straub said. She had several friends and family members urge her to toss her hat into the ring.
“I bring a different prospective,” she said. “I’m a young mother. I will bring a young, modern voice to the commission.”
Being from the area, she said she knows the county and the challenges it faces. “It’s been a great learning experience and I look forward to learning more.”
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Lebbin said of the results. “That surprised me.”
For now, he still has the balance of his term. “I will focus on the remainder of my tenure and do the best I can to represent the Fourth District and Barton County as a whole.”
He has appreciated working with the other commissioners. As for another run, “I have no idea at this point. That is four years down the road.”
  Straub is a fifth generation Barton County resident and a 1996 graduate of Ellinwood High School. She attended Barton Community College for one year, and transferred to Kansas State University. There she earned a bachelor’s degree  in apparel and textile marketing, and worked her way through graduate school as a GTA.
She met her husband Will Straub during his six years of active duty service in the U.S. Army. They have three daughters, Alexa, Alaina and Aliza.
 Lebbin is an Ellinwood native who recently retired from the ONEOK Hydrocarbon L.P. facility at Bushton where he was employed for 22 years. Prior to that, he owned and operated a retail/wholesale Phillips 66 distributorship in Ellinwood for 13 years.
He served the Ellinwood City Council for over 21 years, working with six administrators and five mayors since 1978. He also served on the Ellinwood Fire Department for 22 years.
He is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who served as an air traffic controller and control tower chief. He returned to and has resided in Ellinwood since 1977.
In other Barton County Commission balloting, incumbent Jennifer Schartz defeated challenger Dean Akings in the District 5 primary, and Kenny Schremmer ran unopposed in the District 1 primary.