Newton Kansan
Ron Krehbiel, R-Burrton, stayed at home on election night, spending some time with his wife. The campaigning over, there wasn't much to do other than wait for results.
At midnight, he got a phone call. Half of the precincts in his Harvey County Commission district were counted — and he was holding a 2 to 1 lead in the election.
It looked like he was headed for another four years on the commission.
"This feels real good," Krehbiel said. " I have nothing but respect for Leo (Stahly, D-Newton). I think it has been a good race. I will feel honored to serve Harvey County for another four years."
At midnight, Krehbiel led the election 1,451 to 647, or 68 to 30 percent.
Those results held when the final tally came in a few hours later — the final precincts totals were posted at 12:52 a.m. with Krehbiel collecting a 3,081 to 1,132, or 66.5 to 32.7 percent, victory. Hand count and provisional ballots remain.
Krehbiel was elected for a fourth term on the commission in an election that featured a 66 percent turnout in the third commission district.
"I felt like I gave voters a choice, and they made their choice," Stahly said. "I want to thank all the people who helped me — my wife, kids and contributors. I want to thank the voters who made this election possible."
Krehbiel said the central issue within the campaign was an important one — the future of Harvey County, and how changing state and federal funding levels will play into the long-term financial health of the county.
"To me, it was about common sense and moving forward," Krehbiel said. "We need to try and keep the mill levy and taxes down. We need to hang in there for the future. ... We need to live with the cuts the state and federal governments are doing."
Stahly said there were other issues at play — ones he thought were important to bring to light, and win or lose, he was able to do that.
"I thought the big issue was (the spending on) the Kansas Logistics Park and the fairgrounds," Stahly said. "The 80 acres out south of town."
The county has helped fund the Kansas Logistics Park Project, what has become a hot-button topic. The economic development project is sitting empty on the east side of Newton. The fairgrounds project is also unfinished. The county purchased 80 acres at 36th and Old 81, ground sitting empty.
It's an issue Stahly will not let go — but said he will not be as effective at bringing to light without a commission seat.
"There won't be a lot I can do but go to the commission meetings and complain," Stahly said.
Krehbiel told the Newton Kansan, with an approving nod from his wife who tried to keep a lid on his gruff exterior Tuesdy night, that this was his last election.
"This will be my fourth, and I think this will be my last," Krehbiel said. "It has been a pleasure to serve, and I look forward to another four years. ... Part of me would like to serve another hundred years."