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Cruse Cruises To Victory In Sedgwick County Commission Race

Deborah Shaar
Lacey Cruse

Voters in Sedgwick County picked a political newcomer over a two-term commissioner to represent the commission’s 4th District.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s general election show Democrat Lacey Cruse defeated Republican Richard Ranzau by 8 percent.

This was Lacey Cruse’s first political campaign, and she nailed it. She led the race as soon as early voting results were posted and never trailed. She had a similar outcome in the August primary.

Cruse earned more than 3,000 votes above Ranzau’s tally to win the race.

“I feel like we have worked really hard, and we deserve this win," Cruse said after her victory. "Sedgwick County is ready for something new."

Cruse will be the first Democrat to represent the 4th District since the late 1990s, and the first female commissioner in eight years.

Cruse campaigned on the idea of bringing a fresh perspective to the county commission. Come January, she will get her chance.

Credit Stephan Bisaha / KMUW
Pete Meitzner

The commission’s 1st District will also have a new representative. Republican Pete Meitzner was elected to replace Commissioner Dave Unruh, who decided not to seek re-election. Unruh represented the district for 16 years.

Meitzner won a close race for the 1st District. He beat Democrat Renee Duxler by 6 percent.

Meitzner is a two-term Wichita City Council member. He credited his community support for his victory.

“Apparently enough voters thought the positive momentum we’ve been doing is enough to put me in office,” Meitzner said.

Credit LaRissa Lawrie / KMUW
Jim Howell

Republican Jim Howell was re-elected to a second term in the 5th District. He defeated a challenge by independent candidate Jim Skelton.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it would be a little bit closer than it was," Howell said. "I was hoping for a victory, but I was ready for anything, and the reality is, a 12 point victory is pretty exciting actually."

Meitzner, Cruse and Howell will begin their four-year terms in January.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.