Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

Council election takes a twist

Recent candidate withdrawals could have strange impacts on election

February 17, 2005

For the second time in as many weeks, a candidate for Basehor City Council has said he's withdrawing his name from consideration, the ripple effects of which could have strange bearings on the city's March primary and April general elections.

This week, Bob Moore, an 11-year Basehor resident and the first candidate to file for this spring's election, told The Sentinel that he's removing himself from the campaign and is no longer a candidate for City Council.

"I'm dropping out," Moore said. "I'm going to support Dave (Povilonis) and (Terry) Thomas and that's where I'd like all my support to go to. I'd like to see some people with experience, with a little background, in there. I think I'm making the right decision."

Incumbent City Council member Keith Sifford joins Povilonis and Thomas in vying for two vacant council positions.

In case he decides he's backed the wrong horse, Moore said he would resume his campaign. Though he no longer considers himself a candidate, Kansas law stipulates Moore's name remain on at least the March primary election ballot.

The same is true for James Washington, a Basehor resident who, like Moore, filed for the election but indicated last week that circumstances dictated he end his City Council bid. Washington, who's also supporting Thomas, said increased work responsibilities didn't allow for a campaign and possible council service.

Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer said Kansas law precludes either Moore or Washington from withdrawing their names from the ballot -- the deadline for withdrawing was Jan. 25 -- and that a primary election would still take place March 1 for City Council candidates.

"Regardless, there is going to be five names on the ballot," Scheer said. "This thing goes on no matter who says they're not running."

Because five candidates filed for the two available council seats, one person will be eliminated after the primary. Ironically, that means at least one of the avowed non-candidates will find his name on the April 5 general election allot. In a strange twist, both Washington and Moore -- non-candidate, candidates -- could move on to the general election.

Theoretically, both could even win a seat on the City Council.

Moore said if a scenario unfolded that had him winning one of the two council positions, he would not resign it. "If I win the election, I will keep the seat," Moore said. "I would not withdraw from the City Council."

On the opposite end of the spectrum, and certainly under the most ridiculous circumstance, a coin toss would take place to determine who would move onto the general election if Moore and Washington tied with zero votes in the primary, Scheer said.

The recent withdrawals by Washington and Moore are the most recent examples of a trend that has plagued the City Council race thus far -- candidate indecision.

Sifford, who in 2003 was appointed to fill a council vacancy, initially said he would not seek an additional term. However, at the 11th hour, the incumbent changed his mind and filed for the election, citing a desire to see through several unfinished projects.

Another Basehor resident, Jerry Barlow, made public his intentions to file for the election, but the January filing deadline came and went without his registration. Barlow said health concerns convinced him not to seek a municipal government post.

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