By Mia Birkes
Please note that these are numbers collected from the hours following the close of the polls, published by the McPherson News-Ledger on Nov. 3, 2021. They are, however, unlikely to change by more than a handful of votes overall. Major updates will warrant their own article. For quick results, see the end of the article.
On Nov. 2, 2021, McPherson held elections for the mayor and three seats on the school board. Throughout the night, incumbent Tom Brown had a steady lead on Luke Aichele. As of 10:15 p.m. on Nov. 2, Brown held strong as the public favorite, leading Aichele by 668 votes for a total 1,870 votes. The McPherson News-Ledger called the mayoral race by 10:30 p.m., having only 92 provisional ballots left to count.
Brown has been the mayor of McPherson for 12 years. Aichele is a local business owner and has admitted that sometimes he doesn’t really know what the mayor does (see Mayoral Debate article). Aichele graciously accepted the outcome, saying in an interview with McPherson News-Ledger reporter Anne Hassler Heidel: “I am proud that we both were able to run clean campaigns, regardless of outside influences…I am thankful for all the support and happy to see a great voter turnout in the community.”
Of nine candidates that battled for seats on the school board, McPherson favored Lara Vanderhoof with 1,999 votes, Brooke Kanitz with 1,887 votes, and Brian Meek with 1,777 votes. Notably, Brian Kynaston, a current school board member up for reelection, has lost his chair with only 1,003 votes in his favor. These three candidates will begin serving on the USD 418 School Board in January 2022.
As a McPherson native, I can tell you that Brooke Kanitz knows the inner workings of the school system; her husband Dustin was my seventh-grade English teacher and taught for many years both before and after my time at McPherson Middle School. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new collection of minds will handle the ever-changing dynamic of public schools.
Tom Brown: 1,870
Luke Aichele: 1,202
Lara Vanderhoof: 1,999
Brooke Kanitz: 1,887
Brian Meek: 1,777