For Democrat Pat Wells, the race she lost to incumbent Douglas County Treasurer Nancy Hempen was "a real cliff-hanger."
Despite her loss, Wells said today, "I felt good about the race. I gave it my best shot. It's too bad I couldn't have that extra 500 votes."
The vote margin was tight throughout Tuesday's count, with Wells even taking a turn at the lead. But when all votes were tallied, Hempen, a Republican seeking her third four-year term, won with an unofficial 19,164 votes to Wells' 18,773.
Wells, a secretary for the Lawrence school district who had previously worked for Hempen, said the closeness of the race may have been not only an endorsement of her qualifications but an indication of public dissatisfaction with the way the treasurer's office is run.
Hempen, on the other hand, said her victory showed voter approval of the job she and her staff had done. She credited her staff's friendly, efficient dealings with the public for the win.
Hempen said her campaign strategy was simple.
"I tried to stress my accomplishments and the changes that have been made in the treasurer's office over the past seven years," she said.
One of the changes Hempen said is yet to come is the opening of a satellite office on the west side of Lawrence where residents can register vehicles and pay personal property and real estate taxes.
Hempen said her aim is to save taxpayers who live on the west side of town a trip downtown. Also, Hempen said her office in the Douglas County Courthouse could use the extra space.
Hempen said she will announce the office's location when plans are final. The satellite office will be funded using money the county retains from vehicle registration fees.
"It would be done without using mill levy tax dollars," she said.