With no one stepping forward when Terry Carney decided not to seek reelection on the Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437 board of education, Bryan Smith decided he was going to throw his hat into the proverbial ring. The problem, though, is he missed the June 1 filing deadline.
“I want people to know I’m interested,” Smith said when describing why he chose to be a write-in candidate for the USD 437 district B, position 5 race. “I’m not just looking for a position. I’m looking to give back. I’m pretty simple. I’m pretty much a dad.”
In addition to being a father, Smith has been a personal injury attorney in Topeka for more than 25 years. He said with his two daughters having recently graduated from Washburn Rural High School, he feels he has the time to devote to the business of the USD 437 board of education.
“I’ve lived in the district since before our kids were born and I thought I could offer a unique position with two kids who have gone through the system,” he said. “I could offer that perspective of having completed that journey and understanding the challenges of the school system. I’m a strong supporter of the public school system.”
Smith said he’s lived in the USD 437 boundaries since the mid 1990s, having moved to Topeka to attend Washburn School of Law in 1989.
He said while he graduated from Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Fla., in 1985, and then Central Florida University in 1989, his extended family is from the Alma and McFarland area of Wabaunsee County west of Topeka.
Smith is not only a write-in candidate for the USD 437 district B, position 5 race but he is the only candidate.
Terry Carney, who held the seat for eight years that Smith is running for, didn’t file for reelection, saying he felt it was time to allow someone else to serve on the USD 437 board. As a result, Shawnee County elections commissioner Andrew Howell said in June there wouldn’t be a primary election in August but a write-in line will appear on the Nov. 7 general election ballot for Carney’s seat.
“A simple majority wins the race, whoever has the most votes,” he said then. “There is no minimum threshold.”
Howell said write-in races are few and far between, generally speaking, but do happen occasionally during township and small city elections. He said when submitting a write-in candidate’s name, the person’s full name and a middle initial, if it is known, must be written on the ballot. He said an appointed write-in council will review the submitted names.
For a full list of Shawnee County boards of education candidates and questions posed to them, go to www.cjonline.com.
Contact reporter Angela Deines at (785) 295-1143 or @AngelaDeines on Twitter.