Archive for Friday, August 16, 1996


August 16, 1996


A former statewide office holder from Lawrence is back in the political arena.

Former state insurance commissioner Ron Todd's narrow victory for Lawrence precinct committeeman has his political career back on track.

On election night, everyone thought Todd had tied Republican rival Paul Horvath in the 1st Precinct, 4th Ward race. A coin flip would determine the winner since voters at Central Junior High produced an ambiguous 36-36 tie.

``Every vote does count,'' Todd said.

However, a subsequent canvass of votes at the Douglas County Courthouse revealed Todd had 46 votes and Horvath had 42 votes.

The result was different than Todd's last venture into the political arena. In the 1994 general election, during the most Republican-dominated election year in four decades, Todd lost the insurance commissioner's race to a Democrat.

Democrat Kathleen Sebelius won 59 percent of the vote to Todd's 41 percent. She's the first Democrat to head the agency since 1887.

``I wouldn't really refer to this as a political comeback,'' Todd said. ``These aren't exactly big positions.''

Elected precinct committee members are responsible for promoting their respective party at the grass-roots level and for filling vacant elected positions, such as district attorney.

Ironically, the vote canvass turned the GOP table in the 1st Precinct, 4th Ward committeewoman race between Marianne Horvath and Bernice Todd.

``We called to find out how we did the next day,'' Mr. Todd explained. ``They said that I tied and my wife lost by one vote!''

On Wednesday, Mrs. Todd received a letter stating she hadn't defeated Mrs. Horvath, 36-35. It was actually a 43-43 tie.

``That was unusual,'' said Mr. Todd, who worked in the insurance commissioner's office for nearly 39 years.

The political fate of the women -- not the men -- is scheduled to be settled at 9 a.m. Monday at the courthouse.

Mr. Todd jumped into the race in an effort to keep his Republican Party flame lit.

``I just wanted to stay involved, if I could,'' he said.

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