KANSAS CITY, Ks. — They say it isn’t over until it’s over.
The race for one seat in the Kansas Statehouse comes down to a single vote on election night, with mail-in ballots yet to count. Election officials in Wyandotte County said this nail biter will be decided by ballots from the mailbox.
It can’t get any closer when it comes to the race for Kansas’ 37th District Representative race. The smoke hadn’t cleared when Tuesday’s primary election wrapped up, even though political newcomer Aaron Coleman, a 19-year old college student, leads incumbent Rep. Stan Frownfelter, who is seeking his eighth term in office.
Election results show Coleman leading Frowfelter by a single vote, 768 votes for Coleman to Frownfelter’s 767. Wyandotte County Election Commissioner Bruce Newby says there are still an undetermined number of mail-in votes to be counted, and that final total won’t be available until Friday.
“I was expecting to lose by double digits. I wasn’t confident,” Coleman told FOX4 on Wednesday.
Coleman, who is 50 years younger than his opponent, said he was so convinced he’d lose, he left town for Colorado on a vacation he’s previously arranged.
“It’s unreal. The only was it could be more unreal is if we were tied, which could happen. There are more mail-in ballots coming in, so they can find more votes for me or more votes for my opponent,” Coleman said.
“I knew it was going to be close. I didn’t know it was going to be this close,” Frownfelter said.
There is no Republican candidate in this race, meaning either Coleman or Frownfelter stands to be the state rep-elect in this district. Frownfelter, 69, who works full-time in sales, said there’s still reason for him to be encouraged since the remaining ballots might come from a familiar source.
“You look at the votes coming in. They’re all mail-in votes. I think those are going to be mostly senior citizens. I think the provision is going to be senior citizens, and that’s where I’ll get most of my votes from,” Frownfelter said.
Both candidates agree this close call is proof no one should skip their turn at the voting booth, since roughly 1,500 votes came down to a single ballot thus far.
“This is the reason every vote counts. It needs to count,” Frownfelter said.
“If just one person who supported me would have stayed home, we’d be tied. If two people who voted for me stayed home, I’d be gone. We wouldn’t be here,” Coleman said.
The Wyandotte County Elections Board says the election won’t be official until next week, when the county’s Board of Canvassers certifies the outcome. At that point, if either Frownfelter or Coleman wants a recount, they’ll have to pay for it.