Several candidates on path to earn election to Douglas County positions through uncontested races
photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo
Several local candidates on Tuesday were on the path to win election to Douglas County positions as they earned votes in uncontested races.
While most faced party challengers during the August primary elections, the Democratic candidates for the county’s sheriff, district attorney, clerk, treasurer and register of deeds were unchallenged during the general election.
Some of the winners will be new to the positions they have been elected to, leading to the installation of new leadership in the local criminal justice system and property registration early next year.
According to ballots counted as of 8 p.m. Tuesday:
• Sheriff candidate Lt. Jay Armbrister has received 43,838 votes, 95.3% of the ballots cast. Voters cast ballots for write-in candidates 2,153 times.
Armbrister, of Baldwin City, won a three-candidate race in the Democratic primary election. He has worked for the sheriff’s office for 22 years, since August 1998, and currently serves as lieutenant in corrections, where he works full-time at the Douglas County Jail. He will replace Sheriff Randy Roberts, who was appointed in July to finish out former Sheriff Ken McGovern’s term after he retired.
• District Attorney candidate Suzanne Valdez has received 43,289 votes, 95% of the ballots cast. Voters cast ballots for write-in candidates 2,251 times.
Valdez, of Lawrence, won a three-candidate race in the Democratic primary election, which included knocking off incumbent District Attorney Charles Branson. She currently teaches prosecutorial ethics as a full-time professor at the University of Kansas School of Law. She is also a special prosecutor for the Wyandotte County DA’s office, handling cases that involve conflicts of interest for that office’s staff.
• County Clerk Jamie Shew, who is running for re-election, has received 44,904 votes, 97.67% of the ballots cast. Voters cast ballots for write-in candidates 1,072 times.
Shew went unchallenged in the Democratic primary election. He was first elected as the county clerk, which is the county’s top election officer, in 2004.
• Treasurer candidate Adam Rains has received 44,243 votes, 97.4% of the ballots cast. Voters cast ballots for write-in candidates 1,182 times.
Rains, who served as deputy county treasurer from 2015 until September, defeated challenger Timothy Morland in the Democratic primary election. Rains will retain the seat that he was took over to in September when he was appointed to finish out the term of former Treasurer Paula Gilchrist, who retired in August.
• Register of Deeds candidate Kent Brown has received 44,393 votes, 97.6% of the ballots cast. Voters cast ballots for write-in candidates 1,086 times.
Brown, who is currently the deputy register of deeds, defeated challenger Kim Murphree in the Democratic primary election. Brown will fill the seat that will be left by current Register of Deeds Kay Pesnell, who plans to retire. Brown has served as the deputy of the office since 2015.
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