Although the numbers may change slightly, Great Bend’s next mayor will be Cody Schmidt, who waged a write-in campaign against the three declared candidates.
The general election balloting Tuesday included mayoral contenders Rachel Mawhirter, Randolph S. Myers and Brock R. McPherson, all of whom had filed for the opening. But it also featured Schmidt.
By the close of the day, Mawhirter had 672 votes, Myers 199 and McPherson 213. Schmidt racked up 1,107, but since there were so many write-in votes and election workers had to determine the voters’ intentions, these totals won’t be finalized until Wednesday.
In all, there were 2,213 votes cast. Of those, 1,129 were write-ins, 22 of which were not assigned.
Even so, County Election Officer Donna Zimmerman said she didn’t expect this to alter the outcome.
As it is, all tallies are unofficial and don’t include provisional ballots, those cast by voters who moved within the county or changed names. The results won’t be certified until they are canvassed Monday morning by the Barton County Commission, acting as the Board of Canvassers.
The winner will replace one-term Mayor Joe Andrasek who didn’t file for reelection. Under a charter ordinance recently approved by the council, the mayor and newly elected council members take office at the first council meeting in January following their November election.
“I had a really good feeling going into tonight,” said Schmidt, director of grounds and transportation for Unified School District 428. “The support has been overwhelming.”
As a write-in candidate, he said he had nothing to lose. “It’s been an awesome experience.”
After taking office, he wants to meet the many folks who make the city tick and find out what they need. “I want to hit the ground running,” he said.
He may have outpaced the field, but “hats off to the other three, they were all good candidates,” he said. “They were all willing to step up and volunteer to lead this community.”
Mawhirter is owner of the marketing firm Marketing Maven.
Myers is a former council member and past mayoral candidate.
McPherson, long-time Great Bend attorney with McPherson & McVey Law Office Chtd., currently serves on the council representing the Fourth Ward.