Four incumbent county officials say they will seek another term

Only one of seven Douglas County elected officials whose positions are on the ballot this year has filed for re-election, but three others told the Journal-World this week they would seek another four years in office.

The positions of Douglas County clerk, district attorney, register of deeds, sheriff and treasurer will be on the 2016 ballot. Two positions on the Douglas County Commission, the 2nd District seat of incumbent Democrat Nancy Thellman and the 3rd District seat will also be on the ballot.

Commissioner Jim Flory announced last month he would not run for a third term for the 3rd District seat of western Douglas County. Wakarusa resident and fellow Republican Michelle Derusseau has filed to run for the position.

Thellman said Monday she would run for the 2nd District seat, which represents east Lawrence, Baldwin City and Eudora. Thellman was first elected in 2008 to the County Commission.

One of her motivations in seeking another term was her desire to continue working on issues involving the expansion of the Douglas County Jail, the construction of a mental health crisis center and creation of a mental health court, Thellman said.

“That initiative is very important to me,” she said. “That work will go beyond the election.

“I really enjoy representing Eudora and Baldwin City. We’re seeing really strong relationships developing among Baldwin, Eudora and Lawrence, and I think good has come out of that.”

She also looked forward to continuing efforts to support small farmers and a local food network and promoting efforts to create more affordable housing opportunities, Thellman said.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew and Register of Deeds Kay Pesnell said they, too, would seek re-election.

Pesnell is the only incumbent county official to make her intentions official, having filed in January for another four-year term. The Democrat was first elected to the office in 2004 after being appointed to fill an unexpired term in 2002.

“I do enjoy my job,” she said. “I just enjoy serving the county and keeping the records.”

Shew said he hadn’t walked across his office to file but would run for another four years in the position he first won in 2004.

“It still feels pretty new,” he said. “It seems to have moved pretty fast. A lot has changed since I came into office, and there are still quite a few challenges I face each year.”

District Attorney Charles Branson and Sheriff Ken McGovern said Wednesday that they were not ready to announce their intentions. County Treasurer Paula Gilchrist wasn’t available for comment.

Also on the ballot this year will be township trustees and treasurers, said Ben Lampe, deputy elections clerk for the Douglas County Clerk’s Office.

The deadline to be on the August primary and November general election ballot is noon on June 1, Lampe said.