Mike Fagg emerged from Monday’s vote canvass in Butler County as the winner of the mayor’s race in El Dorado, one of three close local races that ended unchanged from Election Day after county commissioners there and in Sedgwick County took another look.
Fagg ended with 992 votes for mayor in El Dorado, 11 more than former state legislator John Grange’s 981.
In Wichita, Jeff Blubaugh padded his margin over Joshua Blick by 6 votes from election night, winning 1,106-1,060 in the race for the District 4 seat on the Wichita City Council.
Meanwhile, Joy Eakins and Scott Poor split 44 provisional votes in the race for the District 2 seat on the Wichita USD 259 Board of Education. Final totals were Eakins 4,654. Poor 4,608. Provisional ballots are those cast by voters whose eligibility is in doubt for a variety of reasons such as not signing mail-in ballots, voting in the wrong location, or failing to re-register after moving. Election officials, generally the county commissioners, decide which provisional ballots will be counted.
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Fagg said housing, the city budget and water sales will be his focus as mayor – despite the uncertainty of a race that ended Tuesday night with an eight-vote advantage over Grange.
“I was ready to be a winner or a loser today, and I’m happy with the way it worked out,” he said. “I grew up in El Dorado and getting to be the mayor of your hometown, that’s exciting.”
Butler County Clerk Don Engels said the mayoral race is one of the closest El Dorado has seen. But given Butler County’s recent history, Engels joked the 11-vote margin is almost a landslide.
“For mayor, maybe,” he said, laughing. “But we have ties here in Butler County. We had a tie in the primary in Augusta, and we had a county commissioner elected here a couple of years ago in a coin flip.”
Blubaugh said he’s been confident since election night that provisional ballots and the recount would not change his narrow win over Blick.
“I’ve been through this process before,” he said. “When I ran for the House of Representatives, there was only a 27-vote disparity and I figured out at that time that generally what they report on Election Day is how it ends up.”
Blubaugh has been at City Hall, getting his office and his district’s communications apparatus set up.
“Really, what are the best practices on how to communicate with all the people in my district,” he said. “If you’re not visible, that’s where it all starts.”
Eakins said she joined Poor at the Sedgwick County Courthouse on Monday morning to observe the canvass.
“Obviously, we’re happy about the results and I’m eager to get started,” she said. “It was important to have every vote counted ... and it was a great experience to see democracy at work.”
Contributing: Suzanne Perez Tobias of The Eagle