The race to lead the Johnson County Commission picked up a new candidate this weekend.
Former three-term state Rep. Patricia Lightner of Olathe announced her candidacy, triggering an August primary and adding a new twist to a race that is now increasingly difficult to handicap.
She will face incumbent Chairman Ed Eilert and Commissioner Ed Peterson. Other potential candidates are said to be looking at the race, too.
In a statement to The Buzz, Lightner said it was time “for a change and a fresh approach” to county leadership.
“My priorities include stopping the cycle of property and sales tax increases, bringing transparency to the county's spending, promoting a business climate open to companies of all sizes, preserving property rights, and protecting our county's most vulnerable citizens while fostering a culture of life,” she said.
Lightner is a compliance auditor in the office of the Kansas Securities Commission.
Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby said Lightner’s candidacy assures an August primary in the non-partisan race, assuming that Lightner formally files. The top two finishers would square off in November.
Lightner is a conservative who waged a competitive race for the GOP nomination for Congress in 2010, losing to Kevin Yoder. Eilert, a former Overland Park mayor, appeals to traditional Republicans while Peterson has ties to Democrats and moderate Republicans.