Beatrice councilmen move on to November, in mayoral race
BEATRICE – Incumbents fared well in the Beatrice Mayoral and Third Ward Council races in the May primary.
Councilmen Bob Morgan and Gary Barnard will square off for the Mayoral post in November. Morgan led the way with 1,291 votes unofficially, finishing ahead Barnard, with 804. Challenger Ashley Mason finished third with 675 votes, and Jake Speakman fourth, with 290.
Morgan thanked those who supported him. "I'm very thankful for all the people who voted for me and believed in me. I think that Beatrice is a great place to live, and I think the next four years we can ratchet things up a notch and be very, very successful...and I'm hoping that resonated with the voters."
The First Ward Councilman credited a social media platform that worked well. "I was very excited about the number of people who wanted signs and had some very good discussions with people in the community about the kind of the direction they'd like to see. I was really, really happy to see how engaged Beatrice residents were, in this mayoral race."
Heading into November, Morgan says he expects a civil run for mayor. "When Gary filed, since I filed first...I called him and we agreed that we're going to run and certainly be more civil than what you saw in the Governor's race...and so Gary and I have interest in the city to be successful, so we'll be able to work together."
Gary Barnard, a former Gage County board member and now 4th Ward Councilman, concurs with Morgan about the upcoming race.
"We ran a good clean race, without some of the stuff that goes on in the bigger races, and I'm proud of that. I think I've got some ground to make up but I think I'm not in too bad of a spot. I think it's not insurmountable and I sure do thank all the people who voted for me. I think we'll move on and see how it works out."
Barnard said he was happy at the vote outcome and says his past experience in running for elective office and being in county government has helped.
"I've got a support base out there, for one thing. I can always usually count on a certain amount of votes, it seems like...and I just have to build on top of that like I did in the council race. So, there's no secret to it...you just have to work your tail off, do some of the right things and kind of behave when you're campaigning."
While the two move on to the November Mayor’s race….they both continue their jobs as council members. "Me and Bob have always gotten along very well as far as I know, on council matters. We agree on a lot things, maybe disagree on a few things but it's always been a friendly atmosphere...and I don't think that will change much."
The new mayor will take over for Stan Wirth, who is completing his second term this year and opted not to seek reelection.
In the race for the Beatrice Third Ward Council position, two of the three candidates move on to November. Current City Council President Mike McLain was the winner in the primary, with 259 votes…finishing well in front of Paul Fanning, with 116. Caleb Sabatka finished third, with 95 votes.
A city economic development ballot question was approved by voters, renewing an economic development plan for a six-year period. The plan will use part of the city’s local sales tax to fund up to $300,000 annually for economic development. The question passed by an unofficial vote of 1,695 to 1,211.
In the Wymore Mayoral race, incumbent Milton Pike and Collin Meints move on to November. Pike won a close primary, by a vote of 133-to-126. Holly Troxel finished third, with 27 votes.
Gage County 7th District Supervisor Terry Jurgen of Odell keeps his board seat. Jurgens defeated challenger Randy Frerking, by a vote of 323-to-121 on the Republican side. No Democratic candidate filed.