Elections

Michelle Distler tops Dan Pflumm to become the new mayor of Shawnee

Michelle Distler
Michelle Distler

Voters in Shawnee on Tuesday elected Michelle Distler as the city’s new mayor.

Distler, 41, defeated fellow City Council member Dan Pflumm, 53. She replaces outgoing mayor Jeff Meyers, who is leaving after serving as Shawnee’s mayor since 2004.

Distler had 3,081 votes to Pflumm’s 2,622.

The general election race was relatively cordial, a surprise to some in Shawnee. Distler promised more openness in city government, but like Pflumm made development a central argument for her campaign.

She was more skeptical of taxpayer-backed incentives than Pflumm, calling them a “necessary evil.” Several proposals for new or refurbished retail shopping proposals have struggled in the city in recent years, costing the city potential revenue — and putting pressure on property taxes.

Pflumm remains a member of the Shawnee City Council.

There were two contested council races in Shawnee. In Ward 1, incumbent Jim Neighbor easily beat challenger Ben Terrill by a vote of 1,049 to 731, while in Ward 2 incumbent Neal Sawyer lost to Eric Jenkins 791 to 601.

Most of the other mayors in Johnson County ran unopposed.

In two contested races, Olathe incumbent Mike Copeland easily won re-election 5,313 to 917 against newcomer Jason Reed, and Lake Quivira’s Michael Olson topped Leon Rieke 229 to 154 in the race to replace outgoing mayor Wayne Hidalgo.

Roeland Park voters faced several choices for their City Council. In the 2nd Ward, Tim Janssen won over Blake Morgan by a 202 to 71 vote. In two tight races, Erin Thompson topped Linda Mau 201 to 192 in the 3rd Ward, and Michael Poppa narrowly defeated JoAnna Rush, 289 to 284, in the 4th Ward.

The 4th Ward race involved Roeland Park’s controversial ordinance, passed last year, that banned discrimination in the city on the basis of sexual preference. Rush is believed to support repeal of the ordinance — she called it divisive — while Poppa is a supporter of it.

Mau also generally opposed the ordinance, while Thompson supported it.

All the vote totals are final unofficial results.

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