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Harrisonville elects first female mayor

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Staff photo/Dennis Minich Mayor-elect Judy Bowman beamed as she hugged her husband, Jerry, just moments after it was announced she had won the election. Bowman was joined by approximately 100 supporters at a victory party at the Forged By Fire Event Space. Bowman is the first woman to be elected to the city’s top post.

By Dennis Minich

A crowd of about 100 people filled the Forged By Fire Event Center Tuesday night at a watch party for mayoral candidate Judy Bowman. And the crowd did not leave disappointed as Bowman topped incumbent mayor Brian Hasek fairly handily to become the first female mayor in the city’s history.

Bowman, who for the last four years had been an alderman from Ward 1, garnered 912 votes for 54.16 percent of the vote. Hasek ended with 772 votes, 45.84 percent.

Bowman will be joined by several new faces on the board. Dave Doerhoff won the Ward 1 seat which Bowman had held by getting 260 votes or 48.39 percent in the three-way race. Brenda Durbin Cox finished second with 171 votes and Chris Benjamin had 103.

In Ward 2, incumbent Marcia Milner had little trouble, gathering 251 votes, 60.19 percent to former alderman Morris Coburn’s 166.

The Ward 3 vote pitted political newcomer Clint Miller against former mayor Bill Mills. Miller took the vote handily earning 169 votes, 61.90 percent to Mills’ 104

In Ward 4, incumbent Jessica Levesen was defeated by Gary Davidson. Davidson had 296 votes, 67.27 percent to Leve-sen’s 144. Levesen was running for the first time having been appointed by Hasek to fill out an unexpired term when Josh Stafford resigned from the board.

The election ended a contentious campaign which was at times quite ugly. It was also a costly campaign as Bowman spent about $15,000 on the campaign, about seven times the amount of her opponent.

While her campaign workers partied, Bowman took a deep breath while looking ahead.

“I am so totally overwhelmed with the level of support and dedication from my volunteers,” she said. “They’ve embraced our message of leadership for a change and I am thankful to them.”

Bowman admitted being tired from the campaign, but compared the final night to the first night, when she and a handful of other candidates spent all night in front of city hall to be the first to file for office.

“Tonight, it’s a good tired. It reminds me of that very first night. That was 13 hours, this was 13 hours and it was worth it,” she said.

Bowman acknowledged there being significance to being the first female  mayor.

“I didn’t think about being the first woman. But when I did start thinking about it, I realize that being the first anything comes with a lot of responsibility. I intend to reach out and interact with a lot of people,” she said.

More election results, including several county ballot initiatives will be in next week’s The South Cass Tribune.

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