Riley County Republican primary voters got a second contest to settle Friday when Ron Wells, a retired builder, filed for the third district seat on the County Commission.
Wells joins David Fiser, a former city commissioner and school board member, as declared candidates for the position currently held by Democrat Karen McCulloh. Elected in 2008, McCulloh said earlier this year that she would not seek re-election. No Democratic candidate has yet surfaced, although the filing deadline remains more than a month away.
Wells was for many years owner of Ron Wells Construction of Manhattan.
Republicans already have one primary contest to sort through in August, that being in the 22nd Senate District, where both Bob Reader and Joe Knopp have declared for the position. The incumbent, Sen. Roger Reitz, has not yet decided whether to seek another term, leaving open the possibility of a three-way race there. There is no declared Democratic candidate for that position either.
The one race that appears to have taken firm shape is in the 66th House District, and it will be a rematch of 2010. In that contest, Democrat Sydney Carlin defeated Republican Lee Modesitt; Modesitt has since declared for the 2012 field, and Carlin is expected to do so.
In the 67th House District, Republican incumbent Tom Phillips declared for re-nomination when he won an election among party officials to succeed Susan Mosier in February. He does not yet have a declared Democratic opponent.
Wells said he considered running for the second district county seat in 2008, but decided against it when Al Johnson declared for re-election. In the interim, redistricting moved his residence into the third district.
“I feel I have more to offer in a common-sense approach,” said Wells of his decision to make the race.
Among issues he said he wanted to focus on are the flooding problem around Wildcat Creek, the proposed continuation of the county’s half cent sales tax and a proposed bridge over the Blue River into Pottawatomie County.