by Mary Rupert
Commissioner-elect Melissa Bynum tonight said she was “absolutely delighted” to win the 1st District, at large, Unified Government Commission seat.
“We really look forward to moving this community forward and continuing this fantastic progress we’ve seen for 18 years now,” Bynum said in a phone interview from her campaign party at Breit’s in Kansas City, Kan.
Bynum, the executive director of the Shepherd’s Center, and Mark Gilstrap, a retired UG deputy revenue director, ran county-wide for the 1st District, at large, seat. The election returns are unofficial until they are certified at a later date.
Bynum said it appeared Nathan Barnes’ write-in campaign had some effect in this contest. Barnes ran a write-in campaign for this office, and according to the unofficial election returns, there were 798 write-in votes. The write-ins were not attributed to a particular candidate. Bynum had 52 percent of the vote, with 5,408 votes to Gilstrap’s 4,128, a 1,280-vote margin.
“I was extremely focused throughout this process,” Bynum said about the campaign. She said she knew she had to talk to voters and get her message out, and worked every day to do that.
“People don’t really respond well to negative campaigning and I’m not a negative person, so that was not part of my tactics,” she said. “We just tried to stay on focus and get the job done, and I think we did that.”
Bynum said she anticipates that some of her first projects in office will be to work on the UG budget, since the budget process is already underway.
“Looking for efficiencies and ways to provide tax relief are No. 1 priorities,” she said.