Douglas County Republican Party to select sheriff to finish out current term

photo by: Elvyn Jones

A Douglas County Sheriff's Office vehicle is pictured in this file photo from August 2017.

Douglas County Republican leaders will soon select a new sheriff to finish out the term of recently retired Sheriff Ken McGovern.

Republican precinct committee members of Douglas County will hold a convention on Friday to nominate and vote to appoint a sheriff. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said the appointment is necessary because McGovern retired before the end of his four-year term, which he was elected to in 2016.

Because McGovern was elected to a countywide seat, all of the party’s county precinct committee members will have a say in the appointment, Shew said. Currently, there are 50 Republican precinct committee members in Douglas County, according to the clerk’s office website.

Ron Thacker, chair of the Douglas County Republican Party, said the convention will be 7 p.m. Friday at the Lecompton Community Building, 333 Elmore St. He said the meeting is open to the public, but only Republican precinct committee members will be able to speak or nominate candidates.

Thacker said the precinct committee members will then vote on the nominations, repeating the action until one of the nominees receives a majority. The party’s nomination will then be sent to Gov. Laura Kelly, who will make the formal appointment.

McGovern, who served as sheriff for almost 16 years, retired last month with about six months remaining in his term.

Prior to McGovern’s retirement, Steve Buchholz, a captain with the sheriff’s office, was promoted to undersheriff, the Journal-World has reported. Upon McGovern’s retirement, following state statute, Buchholz was appointed as interim sheriff. He will serve as interim sheriff until the Republican Party’s nominee is formally appointed.

Regardless of who is appointed to finish out McGovern’s term, the office will likely be led next year by one of the three Democratic candidates up for election: Lt. Jay Armbrister, Deputy Dale Flory and Capt. Doug Woods, all longtime employees of the sheriff’s office.

The primary election is Aug. 4. No Republicans have filed, so the next sheriff will most likely be selected in the primary. The elected sheriff would then take over the position in January 2021.

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