Politics & Government

Ranzau and Nicks commission race headed to a recount as Ranzau clings to narrow lead

Ranzau talks Sedgwick commission GOP primary win over Nicks

Republican Richard Ranzau discusses the results of his GOP primary win over Hugh Nicks in the Sedgwick County commission District 4 election on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. Ranzau will face Democrat Lacey Cruse in the November general election.
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Republican Richard Ranzau discusses the results of his GOP primary win over Hugh Nicks in the Sedgwick County commission District 4 election on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. Ranzau will face Democrat Lacey Cruse in the November general election.

Hugh Nicks is requesting a recount in the Sedgwick County Commission race to represent District 4, which stretches from central Wichita to the north and west.

Nicks announced Tuesday morning that he will be requesting a recount in his Republican primary challenge to incumbent Richard Ranzau.

Nicks immediately turned in paperwork to start the recount moments after the county election board certified the results in the race.

Ranzau got 3,513 votes to Nicks’ 3,438, a difference of 75.

The two were separated by 87 votes in the unofficial total after election night, but the counting of final absentee, provisional and disputed ballots narrowed Ranzau’s lead by 12.

Nicks has requested a hand recount of the paper ballots and posted a $1,000 surety bond toward the cost. He said the recount had to be completed within five days.

Nicks said he thinks the election might be close enough that a recount could make a difference.

“Seventy-five votes out of 7,000, that seems like a very slim margin,” he said. “There’s always a margin of error.”

He said he opted for a hand recount because a machine recount would have been $750, which is only $250 less than what he has to pay for the hand count.

Nicks said if he loses the recount, he won’t support Ranzau in the general election.: “No, would he support me?”

Although his margin dwindled slightly in the canvass count, Ranzau said the final tally was “good news.”

“All the votes are in and we’re up by 75,” he said.

He said he doubts the count could “be off by 76 votes when they count electronically.”

During the campaign, Nicks’ and his allies at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce flooded mailboxes in the district with fliers accusing Ranzau of obstructing efforts to use government subsidies to spur businesses and jobs.

Ranzau leaned heavily on his record as a commissioner, highlighting his outspoken opposition to taxes and what he says are sleazy and largely hidden dealings between the county and well-connected businesspeople.

The money difference was huge: Nicks outraised Ranzau by a factor of three to one.

Nicks, a former vice president of the chamber, raised more than $54,000 for his campaign, most of it from corporate executives, especially development and real estate interests.

Ranzau raised $18,000 to defend his seat, mixed among real estate interests, small-business owners and conservative activists.

In November, the winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Lacey Cruse, a hospice consultant and singer/songwriter.

She’s a political newcomer who is seeking to bring female representation back to the commission. She was inspired to run for office after being thrust into a leadership role during last year’s Wichita women’s march.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau defended his health grant decisions at a forum on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, in Wichita.

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