Douglas County Commissioner Gaughan announces he won’t run for re-election

County Commissioner Mike Gaughan announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election to the 1st District seat he has held since 2009.

The announcement came the day after county voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have authorized a half-cent sales tax to fund an expansion of the county jail and develop a behavioral health campus. Gaughan said, however, he had been mulling stepping down from the commission for some time.

“I will have served on the commission for about 10 years at the end of this term,” he said. “Apart from our projects not approved yesterday, I think I have accomplished everything I could have contemplated.”

Changing family commitments also played a role, Gaughan said. His son is involved in soccer on Wednesdays in Johnson County, which is the same day as the weekly commission meetings.

Gaughan will serve through the end of the year, and the person elected to the 1st District seat will be sworn in during the first County Commission meeting in January 2019.

Gaughan said he has had conversations with several people interested in running for the commission seat, and he expected to see candidates filing for the position soon. The filing and withdrawal deadline for this year’s election cycle is noon June 1.

Heather Dill, deputy of elections for the Douglas County Clerk’s Office, said no candidate had filed for the 1st District seat as of Wednesday. The 1st District includes Lawrence neighborhoods north of 19th Street and west of Massachusetts Street.

A Democrat, Gaughan joined the County Commission in April 2009 when 1st District precinct committee members selected him to fill the seat that became vacant with the retirement of Charles Jones. Gaughan was reelected to the 1st District seat in 2010 and 2014.

The 1st District seat is the only County Commission seat on the ballot this year. Commission Chair Nancy Thellman, of the 2nd District, and 3rd District Commissioner Michelle Derusseau were elected in November 2016 to their current four-year terms.

This story was last updated May 16, 2018, at 6:17 p.m.


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