Government & Politics

JoCo voters have plenty to vote on Nov. 7 — including these mayoral races

For the first time in more than a decade, Overland Park voters decide a contested mayoral race on Nov. 7.

Incumbent Carl Gerlach is seeking his fourth term as Overland Park’s mayor and faces a challenge from Charlotte O’Hara, who served one appointed term in the Kansas House and has run unsuccessfully for several Johnson County offices.

Numerous other Johnson County mayoral and council, school board and community college trustee seats are also up for grabs.

Other mayor’s races are in Roeland Park, Edgerton, Fairway, Gardner, Merriam and De Soto. Contested council races in Johnson County cities include Lenexa, Mission, Olathe and Shawnee. A full listing of the races is at

Among the numerous important school board races is the Shawnee Mission School District, as that district prepares to hire a new superintendent.

In Wyandotte County, incumbent Mayor Mark Holland is challenged by David Alvey, a dean at Rockhurst High School and a member of the Board of Public Utilities. Other unified government commission offices are also in play. More information is available at

In the past, these elections traditionally have been decided in April. But in 2015, the Kansas Legislature moved city and school board elections to the fall in odd-numbered years, in hopes of boosting turnout.

It’s not clear that goal has been achieved. Election officials said they have not seen a big spike in advanced voting this fall.

Advance voting is underway, both by mail and in person, with information on the county election board websites.

Polls in Kansas are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Listen: Deep Background podcast

Mayoral races in KCK, Overland Park roar to the finish line | Important races for mayor are unfolding in two of the area's biggest cities: Kansas City, Kan./Wyandotte County, and Overland Park. Join Dave Helling, Lynn Horsley and Steve Vockrodt of the Star as they discuss the campaign — and hear from the candidates, too.

Listen to past episodes here or subscribe on your favorite podcasting app.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley,