By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. —
In this town and school election cycle, most races in Tuesday’s balloting in Cherokee County attracted only incumbents or a lone candidate who filed for an open seat.
The exceptions are Baxter Springs and Columbus.
In Baxter Springs, Mayor Mike Kaufmann, an incumbent who was appointed last fall to succeed controversial Jenifer Bingham when she abruptly resigned, is facing challenger Randall Trease, who last April was elected to the council’s 3rd Ward seat.
In the Baxter Springs City Council race, incumbent Robert St. Clair will face challenger Laurie Alquist for the 1st Ward seat; incumbent Edwin McAfee will face challenger Cathy Skaggs Bolek for the 2nd Ward seat; incumbent Gary Allen will face challenger Sherri Howey for the 3rd Ward seat; and incumbent Donnie Wade will face challenger Sherry Brown for the 4th Ward seat.
In the race for Columbus City Council, incumbent Jerri Burton is facing challenger John Paradee for the 1st Ward seat; and incumbent Hollie Ellis is facing challenger Dewey Smith for the 2nd Ward seat.
In the Columbus School Board race, incumbent Kathy Jo Schoech is facing challenger Ron Johnson for Position 4, and Brian Reid and Robin Wells are facing off for Position 5.
The following candidates are unopposed and virtually assured of election.
GALENA — Mayor: Dale Oglesby; City Council: 1st District, Joshua Reed; 3rd District, Todd Martin; and at-large posts, Ashley Qualls and Kenneth Meaborn; School Board: David Ryan, Troy Wade and Mike Gibson.
BAXTER SPRINGS — School Board: Mary Kirkpatrick, Joel Hall, Joseph Skye.
COLUMBUS — Mayor: Melton L. Greene; City Council: 3rd Ward, Grant Spieth; 4th Ward, Thomas Niegisch; 5th Ward, Robert M. Leighty Sr.; School Board: Dee Dee LeFever.
RIVERTON — School Board: Tom Wimmer, Danny Anderson and John Gaines.