By SCOTT AUST
Republican Duane Drees appeared headed for a decisive victory Tuesday night over Democratic challenger Patsy Fort to represent Finney County Commission District 3. The third district includes northeast Garden City and northeast Finney County, including Kalvesta.
With eight of 10 precincts recorded as of press time, Drees led Fort 1,261-657.
Drees, a longtime area farmer, said he was relieved and excited about the results and looked forward to serving with four outstanding people on the commission.
"I think Patsy was a very qualified candidate, and I appreciated her running. I don't know if it was my public experience (that made the difference). I'm pretty well known in the area, so maybe it had to do with my family's name and reputation," he said.
Fort, a longtime Garden City teacher, was disappointed but not really surprised about the results.
"I knew it was going to be difficult. I'm a Democrat and a woman. I knew that was two strikes against me to begin with," she said.
Fort said she threw her hat in the ring because she really wanted to do it. She has no plans to run for anything in the future, but she's glad she stuck her neck out.
"I had some supporters, and I knew it would be an uphill battle, but I care about Finney County and I think I would have been a good commissioner," she said.
Drees replaces outgoing commissioner Don Doll, who decided earlier this year not to run for a third term. It will be the first time holding public office for Drees, a fourth-generation farmer who previously has served on various appointed boards.
"It's very humbling. It comes with great responsibility, and I'm looking forward to the challenge," Drees said.
Commissioner Dave Jones, who was unopposed in Tuesday's general election, also was re-elected to the county commission representing District 2.