Archive for Saturday, June 15, 1996


June 15, 1996


Write-in campaigns may be part of the political landscape in Douglas County townships this election year.

Wanted: Candidates for office in three Douglas County townships, where road maintenance needs are high and salaries are low.

When the Douglas County clerk's office closed the filing period for political offices this week, some races for township trustee and treasurer still were begging for candidates.

Those two positions in all nine of Douglas County's townships are up for election this year. Terms for township clerks, the third position on a township board, expire in 1998.

Don Palmateer, who has been trustee of Grant Township for ``probably 20 years,'' said he had no intention of retiring from the post and didn't realize that noon Monday was the filing deadline.

``We get busy,'' he said. ``When nobody says anything, it slips your mind.''

Township officials' duties are limited. They oversee maintenance of the gravel roads in their bailiwick and most townships also operate volunteer fire departments.

Palmateer, who said he'll wage a write-in campaign to retain his office, wasn't surprised that other candidates didn't flock to the county clerk's office to file.

``It's no big high-paying job,'' he said, noting that Grant Township officials receive $170 every calendar quarter for their work.

Jim Middleton, Grant Township treasurer, said it was no oversight that he failed to file for another term.

``I've been doing it for eight years. That's long enough,'' he said.

In Kanwaka Township, where neither of the posts received any filings, Treasurer Paul Studebaker said he and Trustee Laverne Bartell were ready to retire. Studebaker said he'd be recruiting candidates to take over their responsibilities.

``We'll have to have some write-in campaigns,'' he said.

Eudora Township also is lacking a candidate for treasurer. Glen Grosdidier, who now holds that office, is a Republican candidate for 2nd District county commissioner and no other candidate stepped forward to vie for his township duties.

Sharron Harris, the current Eudora Township trustee, is not seeking re-election and Eugene Westerhouse, who is township clerk, is running for that post. If he is elected, the county commission will appoint someone to finish Westerhouse's term as clerk.

Not all townships had a dearth of candidates. In fact, two townships will have primaries in one of their races:

  • Wakarusa Township Republicans will decide Aug. 6 whether Dwane Schaake or Phil Bradley will oppose Democrat Larry Bartz in the general election race for trustee.
  • Incumbent Gilbert Gilges is being challenged by Jerry Smith for the Republican nomination to be Willow Springs Township Treasurer. No Democrat filed for the post.

In addition, the race for Palmyra Township Trustee will be contested in the general election. Democrat Norman Gardner hopes to take the office from Republican A.J. Barrett, the incumbent.

County Clerk Patty Jaimes said write-in balloting for township posts will begin in the August primary. Candidates who receive at least three write-in votes will have their names printed on the general election ballot. Space also will be available on the November ballots for voters to write in candidates.

The county commission will appoint township residents to fill any vacancies that still exist after the general election.

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