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Vote To Fill Vacant City Council Seat Delayed

Carla Eckels

The Wichita City Council voted Tuesday to postpone a vote for the interim District IV seat vacated by Kansas senator-elect Michael O'Donnell. 

The council plans to fill the position next week.

Council members spoke with candidates Joshua Blick, Jeff Blubaugh, Paul Gray and Stan Reeser Monday during one-on-one interviews.

During Tuesday's meeting, each of the candidates addressed the council. Blick said southwest Wichita will suffer if a selection isn't made soon.

"Knowing and wanting the best for our district, I withdraw my name from the ballot today," he said. "I made this decision in hopes that we can come as one today. It is about the district and I thank you again."

Blubaugh told the council he agrees with Blick, saying the 4th District needs full participation on the council as soon as possible. Both Gray and Reeser said if selected, they would only serve during the interim.

After statements were made, Mayor Carl Brewer said the council heard new information from the candidates.

"We've had some remove their names and some that have come back and said they're not going to run for the seat," said Brewer, "I know that we were looking at individuals trying to make sure that all the candidates had an equal playing field to be able to run for the seat. I think that we have some additional work to do."

The council voted to delay the decision with Pete Metizner and James Clendenin voting no.

A candidate is expected to be selected next Tuesday and will be sworn in following the vote.

Voters will choose a permanent replacement during the April 2 general election.