General election races end with local change

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Retiring Bourbon County Sheriff Harold Coleman, right, and current Bourbon County Undersheriff Ron Gray congratulate each other Tuesday night after the unofficial election results were posted in the Bourbon County Courthouse. Gray discovered Tuesday that he had been elected as Bourbon County's new sheriff while Coleman learned of his successful campaign for Bourbon County Commission's District 3 seat. -- Rayma Silvers/Tribune Photo

By Rayma Silvers

The Fort Scott Tribune

Although Tuesday night's election totals are not yet official, voters brought change to the local area.

Due to recent events in the Fort Scott, the race for Bourbon County Sheriff has caused quite a stir with local voters.

Tuesday night's unofficial count showed Bourbon County Undersheriff Ron Gray sweeping the competition with 3,440 votes, and his opponent Cindy Gillispie receiving 2,045 votes.

According to Bourbon County Clerk Joanne Long, one of the most surprising outcomes in the sheriff's race was the more than 1,000 write-in votes that were cast. When asked about write-in candidate Jim Covey and if there had ever been this many write-in votes before, Long said, "Not as long as I've been here. I've been here for 16 years, and I don't recall anyone ever getting that many (write in votes)."

When asked to comment on his win, Gray said, "I'm glad it (election) is over, and I'm looking forward to the future. I want to thank (Bourbon County Sheriff Harold) Coleman for everything he has done for me, and I want to thank all my supporters."

Coleman, who recently announced his plans for retiring from law enforcement, said he is confident Gray will be able to successfully assume the responsibilities of sheriff.

"I have no doubt he (Gray) will do a good job," Coleman said. "I hope I left it (sheriff's department) better than I found it and have all the confidence in the world the office is in good hands. It is a sweet victory for any sheriff to see his Undersheriff take over."

In the Bourbon County Commissioners' race, District Two candidate Jingles J.W. Endicott triumphed over Cindy Clements with a 1,979 to 745 vote, and district three candidate Marvin Creager, who received 649 votes, lost to Coleman, who received 1,065 votes.

When asked how he feels about his victory, Coleman said, "I feel good. Anytime you win an election you have to feel good. Now the work really starts. It's kind of scary," he said. "There is going to be a lot of responsibility."

Residents cast their votes in favor of Long's continuance as Bourbon County Clerk with 4,071 votes. Her opponent Jackie DeMott received 2,434 votes. Long said she is pleased that she was voted into office for another term as county clerk.

"I am relieved to have won," Long said. "I am glad the voters voted on experience. I am looking forward to continuing to work for the county. And I am looking forward to making all the changes that are inevitably going to come -- no matter who wins the big seat."

Local resident Bob Marshall secured the Kansas Senate District 13 seat with 12,859 votes. His opponent Patty Horgan received 9,123 votes.

In the Kansas House races, Bob Grant was re-elected to represent residents in District Two with 5,445 votes. His opponent Jeffrey Locke received 2,966 votes.

After receiving 4,821 votes, Shirley Palmer will continue to represent residents in District Four. Palmer's challenger Lynne Oharah received 4,209 votes.

When asked to comment on the race, Oharah offered his congratulations to Palmer for her victory.