The election for Ellis County attorney this year is already changing, as one candidate dropped out and another has stepped in to take his place.

The primary is Aug. 4 and the general election is Nov. 3.

The county attorney’s office will be open in 2021, as current Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees has announced he will run for district judge in the 23rd Judicial District, which includes Ellis, Rooks, Trego and Gove counties. Drees has been in office for 23 years.

Chris Lyon, who serves as municipal prosecutor for Hays and WaKeeney and as Trego County attorney, told The Hays Daily News on Wednesday morning that he is withdrawing his candidacy because of family health reasons.

“Due to some health developments with our family in Kansas City, Emily and I will be spending a large amount of time there in the future, providing whatever support we can,” Lyon said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

“I cannot predict the duration of the obligation and Ellis County citizens deserve someone that can devote their full time and attention to the office,” he said.

Lyon said he will continue as Trego County attorney and as municipal prosecutor for Hays and WaKeeney.

Lyon filed for the election in July. He worked as an assistant county attorney in Ellis County from 2014 to 2018.

Lyon had approached attorney Robert A. Anderson about running for Ellis County attorney. In his statement, he said Anderson has his full support.

“Robert and I were in school together at Washburn University School of Law. He has practiced law in Ellis County for the last five years and is a respected member of the bar. Robert is a solid conservative choice for Ellis County attorney,” Lyon said.

“I was honored when Chris suggested that I run for this position and offered his support,” Anderson said in his own news release Wednesday morning. “This job comes with immense responsibility to the community and my decision to run has not been taken lightly. While Mr. Lyon is unable to run, I intend to consult with him and other experts in the area about the Ellis County Attorney’s office budget, procedures, and office efficiency.”

Anderson also addressed the fact that several other county elected department offices are up for election, with two — sheriff and county clerk — open because of retirement.

“With all of the turnover coming to our local government offices, I look forward to providing stability to the Ellis County Attorney’s office for the next four years. My familiarity with the office will provide a steady presence that will keep in place the many things that currently work, while also providing a fresh perspective for matters that need changed,” Anderson said in the press release.

Anderson is a member of the Ellis County Bar Association. He is originally from Ellinwood and is a graduate of Kansas State University and Washburn University School of Law. Anderson and his wife, Abby, moved in June 2017 to Hays, where he opened his own law practice.