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Crawford County voters go to the polls


PITTSBURG, Kan. — Voters in Crawford County, as well as across the state and the nation, went to the polls on Tuesday to make their voices heard in the 2022 mid-term election. 

While the U.S. presidency may not have been on the ballot, many other offices from the local to the federal level were, including Kansas governor, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seats, and Crawford County District Three Commissioner. Two proposed amendments to the state constitution were also up for a vote. 

Besides the governor’s race, where GOP candidate and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt was campaigning to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, other contests at the state level included the race to succeed Schmidt as attorney general, as well as for positions including treasurer, secretary of state, insurance commissioner, and state board of education. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the polling website FiveThirtyEight was forecasting a narrow win by Kelly and Lt. Gov. David Toland over Schmidt and his running mate for lieutenant governor, Katie Sawyer. As of shortly before 10 p.m., Kelly was leading statewide by a thin margin, although Schmidt was more than 600 votes ahead in Crawford County. 

The website 270toWin was forecasting Tuesday afternoon that U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Jake LaTurner (KS-2), both Republicans, would easily fend off challenges from their respective Democratic opponents, Mark Holland and Patrick Schmidt. Shortly after 8 p.m., the Associated Press called the Senate race in favor of Moran. With 852 of 1077 precincts reporting statewide Tuesday night, LaTurner led 56 to 44 percent against Schmidt, and was more than 2,000 votes ahead in Crawford County. 

Locally, as unofficial results came in Tuesday night after the polls closed, some races remained too close to call, but other Crawford County election results appeared to be coming into focus. 

With 11,622 ballots counted shortly before 10 p.m., Republican Carl Wood was leading incumbent Democrat Jeremy Johnson by 300 votes in the Crawford County Commission District Three race. 

Despite facing a last-minute challenge from Democratic write-in candidate Jordan Metcalf, Rep. Chuck Smith (R-Pittsburg) appeared to have won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives with 4,572 votes as of 9:52 p.m. There were more than 800 write-in votes, however, suggesting that Metcalf did manage to secure some support, although who received the write-in votes was not announced Tuesday. 

Crawford County voters appeared to have approved the two proposed constitutional amendments, with the proposed amendment on electing and removing sheriffs from office receiving almost twice as many “yes” votes as “no” votes as of 9:52 p.m. The vote was closer on the other amendment, which would allow the legislature to establish procedures to revoke or suspend rules and regulations adopted by the state executive branch, with 5,299 “no” votes to 5,625 “yes” votes. These numbers were similar to those statewide, where the amendment regarding county sheriffs appeared to have won by a significant margin, while the vote on the other proposed amendment was too close to call. 

Shortly before 10 p.m., in the attorney general’s race, Republican Kris Kobach was ahead of Democrat Chris Mann by 1,623 votes in Crawford County. Statewide, unofficial results showed Mann leading by over 20,000 votes, although the race remained too close to call. 

According to unofficial statewide results shortly before 10 p.m., in the race for treasurer, Republican Steven Johnson was ahead of Democrat Lynn Rogers by over 70,000 votes. In Crawford County, Johnson led by almost 2,000 votes. 

By 10 p.m., incumbent Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwab led Democrat Jenna Repass by 123,000 votes statewide, with 72 percent of precincts reporting. Results in Crawford County showed Schwab with a 2,460-vote lead. 

At the same time, Republican Vicki Schmidt held a comfortable lead against Democratic challenger Kiel Corkran in the race for state insurance commissioner. Statewide unofficial results at 10 p.m. showed Schmidt leading by a margin of nearly 180,000 votes, with 74 percent of precincts reporting. Crawford County results mirrored the state returns, with Schmidt showing a clear lead of nearly 3,000 votes shortly before 10 p.m. 

A majority of area voters appeared to have approved retaining all judges on the ballot in Crawford County. This mirrored statewide trends, with all seven Kansas Supreme Court justices on the ballot appearing to easily keep their seats. 

Candidates including incumbent State Board of Education Member Jim Porter, Crawford County Clerk Lisa Lusker, and Crawford County District One Commissioner Bruce Blair, who were all running unopposed, appeared to have easily kept their seats.  

Earlier Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Auditorium in Pittsburg, one of the city’s designated polling places, volunteers Mike Cole and Geanette Stroud said they had people coming to vote all morning despite the downpour of rain. Stroud said that in years past, when they would open the doors at 7 a.m. there was usually only one person waiting outside. This time, she said, there were about six people waiting for the doors to open.  

Cole said he has been an election day volunteer for many years. He said 1,400 citizens were registered to vote at Memorial Auditorium. By 3:30 p.m., 240 people had voted at their station. Stroud said they had seen a steady stream of voters most of the day. 

“It’s just wonderful to see that people still came to vote in the pouring rain this morning,” Stroud said. “Even those who can barely walk showed up to vote. It’s just wonderful.” 

Local resident Dale Mynatt commented on the importance of election day. 

“Election day is certainly a privilege and an honor for all Americans to ensure our freedom in the world,” he said. 

A manual post-election audit of votes is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the county commission meeting room of the Crawford County Courthouse in Girard.