Merriam councilman hangs on to seat by 2 votes; coin flip determines outcome in Mission Woods race


The bulk of candidates in northeast Johnson County could be confident of the results in their races when the unofficial tally was posted last Tuesday night. But for candidates in two area cities, Monday’s canvass at the Johnson County Election Office was crucial.

Merriam Ward 2 councilman Brian Knaff and challenger Patty Newkirk found themselves tied with 166 votes each after the count last Tuesday. When the canvassers met Monday, reviewing new mail-in ballots that arrived before the Tuesday deadline and provisional ballots, Knaff had pulled ahead of Newkirk by two votes. He won election to a new term with a vote count of 171-169. (Two voters cast write in votes in the race).

Narrow as the margin was, at least Knaff and Newkirk didn’t have to leave things to chance.

In tiny Mission Woods, six candidates were vying for five at-large seats on the city council. At the end of Tuesday, candidates Michael Knierim and William Young were tied at 34 votes. After the canvass, they each had 35. Per county guidelines, the decision as to who would take the fifth seat was determined by a coin flip. Young won.

Every vote counts, people…