Voters awarded the lone incumbent in the Parsons City Commission race a third term, and he will be joined by an insurance agent and a business owner.
Leland Crooks, owner of Grand Rental Station and Speaker Hardware, collected the most votes in Tuesday’s city election. He and incumbent Kevin Cruse, who took second place, earned four-year terms. Verlyn Bolinger, a Farm Bureau Financial Services agent, won a two-year term by finishing in third place.
Crooks garnered 602 votes, followed by Cruse’s 586 and Bolinger’s 557.
The tallies are unofficial until the Labette County Commission canvases the vote Nov. 18. The winners will take office in January.
Crooks and Bolinger will join Cruse, Tom Shaw and Jeff Perez on the board. Mayor Bill Hogelin didn’t seek reelection, and David Larsen, who is filling Peter Cook’s unexpired term, decided against a run as well.
Eric Strait finished in fourth place with 550 votes. Jonna Gabbert took fifth place with 418 votes, and Sontana “Tana” Johnson finished in sixth with 232 votes.
The candidates’ placings on Tuesday reflected the results in the August primary with one important difference — Bolinger narrowed the gap between himself and Strait to finish in the top three and earn a seat on the commission.
Bolinger said Tuesday that he was confident he would finish in third or fourth, so he was pleased he edged out Strait.
“I’m ready to serve,” he said.
Bolinger had been doing a lot of “door knocking” and advertising as well as talking and listening to people who came to his office.
Bolinger said he plans to keep attending city commission meetings and will go talk to city staff to get up to speed.
Like Bolinger, Crooks was obviously pleased with the outcome and a little surprised he beat the incumbent.
I’m glad they have confidence in me. I hope to live up to it. I’ll try real hard,” Crooks said.
Crooks said he thinks the city will have a strong commission. He plans to start discussing ideas with other commissioners to “kind of get the ball rolling.” The busy season for Grand Rental Station has ended, so he thinks he will have plenty of time to get prepared to take office in January.
Cruse said he had been on pins and needles all day in anticipation of the vote.
“Being the only incumbent, I wasn’t sure how the votes would go,” he said.
Cruse said he would welcome the new commissioners and do his best to work with them.
“I think it’s going to be a good board,” Cruse said.
Cruse said he remembers being a new commissioner when he was elected to his first term in 2011. His best advice for the newcomers is to come in with an open mind and be good listeners.