Archive for Wednesday, August 6, 2008

County commission races set

August 6, 2008

In Tuesday's 2nd District Douglas County Commission Democratic primary, Nancy Thellman, a Presbyterian minister, coasted to a 1,025 to 330 win over Ken Adkinson, a retired owner and manager of a crop-production business in Eudora.

Thellman said she was nervous until she saw the final results and credited Adkinson's work on the campaign trail. But she said she benefited from her work in the last year with Citizens for Responsible Planning to oppose an airport business park proposal.

"Environmental issues really are resonating with people," said Thellman, who lives in rural Lawrence.

Her opponent will be David L. Brown, a retired Douglas County Sheriff's officer and political newcomer who defeated Grant Eichhorn, a member of the Lawrence Douglas County Planning Commission.

"I think my hardest (challenge) was face and name recognition. A lot of people knew David Brown, but they didn't know David Brown was running for county commission," he said.

Brown ended up winning by a comfortable margin, 1,064 to 510.

Bob Johnson, who did not seek re-election, currently holds the seat. The district includes North Lawrence, southeastern Lawrence, Eudora, Baldwin City and the eastern portion of the county.

Support from rural voters carried former Douglas County district attorney Jim Flory to victory Tuesday.

Flory beat John Tacha, a former Lawrence school board president 1,892 to 1,379.

He will Republican David L. Brown and Thellman and Ken Grotewiel as primary winners for two county commission seats. Results will be made official Friday. The general election is Nov. 4.

"I would like to think what worked in my favor was the shoe leather. I walked door-to-door in a lot of the precincts," Flory said.

Tacha said Flory's support outside of Lawrence played a major factor.

"The rural people voted, and the city people didn't," Tacha said. "I think you've got to give those people credit."

Tacha raised three times as much money as Flory did, but it is Flory who will move on to face Democrat Ken Grotewiel, who recently moved to the county and is former state legislator in the Wichita area.

Grotewiel defeated longtime Lawrence teacher Clenece Hills 857 to 741 in the Democratic primary for the 3rd District commission seat.

In other races of note, Nick Jordan won the right to face incumbent Democratic 3rd District Congressman Dennis Moore in the general election.

Jordan rang up 76 percent of the vote in the district in beating Paul Showen 38,745 to 12,208.

As expected, Democrat and former Congressman Jim Slattery will face Pat Roberts in the general election in the race for U.S. Senate.

Slattery defeated Lee Jones of Overland Park in Tuesday's primary helped bay a 10,156 to 5,843 margin of victory in Johnson County.

Just 13.5 percent of registered voters came to the polls.

Betty Thoennes, who worked the polls at Eudora City Hall and has been a poll worker for eight years, said it was the slowest primary she'd ever experienced.

Poll workers even attributed lack of turnout to the hot weather.

But Eudora voter Joe Ketchum, who hadn't focused on any race in particular, said the heat wasn't an issue.

"When it's voting day, it's voting day," Ketchum said.

- Elvyn Jones and David Oakes contributed to this story

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