by Stacy Wiedmaier
and Ivan Foley
A race for the North Platte R-1 School District had four candidates running and two were elected, but only one is for certain--there is a tie for the second spot
In the Platte County portion of the school district, incumbent Kevin Cook took 353 votes, or 35.62 percent of the votes cast. LeAnn Jones had 233 votes, or 23.51 percent and Bill Matney had 230 votes with 23.21 percent.
The word quickly spread that Matney gained three additional votes when Buchanan County tallied up their results. A small portion of Buchanan County is within the North Platte district boundaries.
The second open spot is now a tie that will need to be broken in a yet-to-be determined fashion, assuming the tie remains after election results are certified in each county later this week.
Wendy Flanigan, director for the Platte County Board of Elections, said the first thing the school district will need to do is talk to both Matney and Jones to see if they are willing for the winner to be determined by drawing lots. If both are willing, the winner will be determined by the random draw.
If not, then North Platte will need to run a special run-off election, with only Matney and Jones' names on the ballot. Winner of that election would get the seat.
"It's basically a decision by the candidates as to how they want to proceed," Flanigan said.
Combining the totals from Platte and Buchanan County portions of the district, the final tally shows Cook with 378 votes, with 245 each for Matney and Jones.
Also running was Patty Bennett, who finished with 182 votes.
“There were several good candidates out there,” said Cook. “I didn’t do anything special for my campaign. But the people voted on my track record and the community seems to like what they have now. The school’s doing very well academically, financially and in athletics. I plan on keeping it that way.”
Jones heard the results from The Landmark late Tuesday evening before Buchanan County portion of the vote was known. This was her first time running for a school board seat.
“I’m so excited,” she yelled into the phone. “I figured it would be a close race. Good grief! Any one of us would have made good candidates for the district. With me, what you see is what you get.”
Matney said he was surprised by the outcome when he heard the results. He was still holding out hope that the tie would end in his favor.