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Races To Watch In The 2017 Local Election

Becky McCray
flickr Creative Commons

Voters in Wichita go to the polls Nov. 7 in what will be the first time local elections are held in the fall. Dozens of races are on the ballots around Sedgwick County, including 13 mayoral races (though not all are contested).

We're keeping an eye on the three Wichita City Council races and four Wichita School Board races (remember: voting for City Council seats is limited to voters in each district; if you live in USD 259, you can vote in all races). We'll have live election results updated throughout the evening on Election Day.

Wichita City Council District 1

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Credit Candidate Facebooks

Community activist Brandon Johnson and businessman and former school board member Mike Kinard are in the race for the District 1 seat. Current Councilwoman Lavonta Williams is finishing up her second full term and can't run again due to term limits. Johnson is founder of the nonprofit Community Operations Recovery Empowerment, which focuses on leadership development in the district. Kinard owns My PictureMan LLC and served as the president of the Wichita school board from 2003-2004. 

The District 1 race was the only one to trigger a primary in August. Of four candidates on the ballot, Johnson received about 52 percent of votes. Kinard received 22 percent.

Wichita City Council District 3

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Credit Candidate Facebooks

Councilman James Clendenin is the only Wichita City Council incumbent on the ballot. He's running for a second term against first-time candidate William Stofer, a writer and neighborhood activist.

Wichita City Council District 6

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Credit cindyclaycomb.com

Wichita Park Board President Cindy Claycomb and local activist Sybil Strum are both on the ballot for the District 6 seat, but only one candidate has been actively campaigning. Strum, a frequent voice at City Council meetings, effectively ended her campaign, but missed the June 1 deadline to withdraw. Current representative, Vice Mayor Janet Miller, is term-limited.

Wichita School Board District 1

Credit Hugo Phan / KMUW
Ben Blankley and Betty Arnold at a forum earlier this year.

Incumbent Betty Arnold is seeking a third term against challenger Ben Blankley. The district covers east and northeast Wichita.

Wichita School Board District 2

Credit Hugo Phan / KMUW
Julie Hedrick, Trish Hileman and Debra Washington participate in a forum earlier this year.

Julie Hedrick, Trish Hileman, and Debra Washington are running for the seat in District 2, which covers east Wichita. Current board member Joy Eakins is not seeking re-election. All three candidates have strong records of community service.

Wichita School Board District 5
Credit Deborah Shaar / KMUW
Peter Grant, third from left, and board President Mike Rodee, far right, at a forum earlier this year.

Current board President Mike Rodee is seeking re-election against Peter Grant; it's Grant's second time running for a seat on the board. Both candidates have kids who graduated from the district and say they support bringing more technology into classrooms.

Wichita School Board District 6

Three candidates--former teacher and Kansas State Board of Education chairman Walt Chappell, former school board member Shirley Jefferson, and educator Ron Rosales--are in the race for the 6th District seat being left vacant by state Sen. Lynn Rogers, who is not seeking re-election.   

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Find your polling place here.