Challengers defeat incumbents in many Johnson County races, but not JCCC board

Two of three incumbents running for relection to the WaterOne Board lost their seats in Tuesday’s election.
Two of three incumbents running for relection to the WaterOne Board lost their seats in Tuesday’s election. jawooldridge@kcstar.com

A wave of newcomers defeated incumbents in Johnson County elections Tuesday — but not in the most contested and closely watched race.

Challengers ousted elected officials in Overland Park, Olathe, Prairie Village, Shawnee and Fairway and on the Johnson County water board. But incumbents on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees held on to their seats despite an unusually crowded field.

With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, incumbent Greg Musil led with 18.4% of the votes, followed by incumbent Nancy Ingram who tied with newcomer Laura Smith-Everett with 17.8% each. They defeated challengers Lori Bell, 16.3%, Colleen Cunningham, 15.4%, and Jameia Haines, 14.2%.

The community college race is typically overlooked, but drew attention this season after the announcement that JCCC President Joe Sopcich is stepping down. And some have attributed the large field of candidates to the Johnson County Democratic Party packing local races. The county’s Republican Party advertised the two incumbents as their preferred candidates, along with Haines. The Democrats backed Smith-Everett.

Johnson County water board

Two incumbents were unseated on the Johnson County water board — another nonpartisan race that saw a wave of new Democratic challengers.

Melanie Kraft won 60.9% of votes, defeating incumbent Terrence Frederick. Newcomer Greg Mitchell received 56.8%, unseating longtime incumbent Robert Olson, a Republican state senator. Incumbent Mark Parkins held on to his seat with 51.5%, beating out challenger Chris Stelzer.

First-timer Whitney Wilson won a vacant seat with 53.7%, defeating other newcomers, Dave Vander Veen and Ullyses Wright.

Overland Park City Council

In close races, two incumbent Overland Park City Council members lost their seats to challengers who campaigned saying the city needed to reduce the number of tax breaks given to developers.

Newcomer Scott Hamblin won 58.8% of the vote, defeating incumbent 6th Ward Councilman Rick Collins. Collins was first elected to the City Council in 2011. Hamblin decided to run for office after the city condemned part of his land for a road expansion last year — he sued the city and won. He also has been vocal about how the city should curb its use of tax breaks.

In the 1st Ward, challenger Holly Grummert — another candidate who voiced concerns about excessive tax incentives — won with 67.7% of the votes, unseating incumbent Terry Happer Scheier.

But three incumbents will serve another term. Incumbent 2nd Ward Councilman Paul Lyons retained his seat, with 55%, defeating opponent Roger Tarbutton. Incumbent 5th Ward Councilman Faris Farassati — the most vocal candidate opposed to tax incentives — won with 54%, over newcomer Phil Bressler. Incumbent 4th Ward Councilman Fred Spears, with 58%, defeated Dan Osman.

Newcomer Tom Carignan won 61.6%, beating newcomer Stephan Glentzer for the 3rd Ward seat held by outgoing Councilman Dave White.

Olathe City Council

Olathe 2nd Ward City Councilman Jim Randall was unseated Tuesday night by newcomer Adam Mickelson, who won with 53.4% of the vote. At-large incumbent John Bacon retained his seat with 51% of the votes, narrowly beating challenger Alan Marston. Marston received support from gay rights activists who are pushing for the city to adopt protections for the LGBTQ community.

Also in Olathe: Ward 1 incumbent Larry Campbell, 63%, defeated Colby White.

Other Johnson County elections

Fairway City Council: Ward 2: Tom Cotter, 66.5% defeated incumbent Gail Gregory. Ward 3: Incumbent Joseph Levin, 61.5%, beat Michele Kiehl. Ward 4: Jenna Brofsky, 78.2%, defeated incumbent Adam Dolski.

Lenexa City Council: Ward 1: Courtney Eiterich, 60.4% defeated Chris Poss. Ward 4: Julie Sayers, 55.4%, defeated Linda Leeper.

Merriam City Council: Ward 1: Jason Silvers, 79%, defeated John Canterbury. Ward 2: Whitney Yadrich, 60.7%, beat Dan Leap. Ward 3: Bruce Kaldahl, 63.5%, defeated Amy Carey. Ward 4: Incumbent Bob Pape, 53.2%, beat Staci Chivetta.

Prairie Village City Council: Ward 2: Inga Selders, 73.8%, defeated incumbent Serena Schermoly. Ward 3: Bonnie Limbird, 54%, beat Lauren Wolf. Ward 5: Incumbent Courtney McFadden, 85%, defeated David Scott Morrison.

Roeland Park City Council: Ward 2: Benjamin Dickens, 59.4%, defeated Leonard Tocco. Ward 3: Trisha Brauer, 66.9%, beat Galen Hansen. Ward 4: Michael Rebne, 65%, defeated A.J. Cameron, who had come under fire for online posts promoting conspiracy theories.

Shawnee mayor and City Council: Mayor: Incumbent Michelle Distler, 57.3%, defeated Stephanie Meyer. Ward 1: Tammy Thomas, 54.2%, defeated incumbent Jim Neighbor. Ward 2: Incumbent Eric Jenkins, 61%, defeated Andy Rondon. Ward 3: Kurt Knappen, 53.8%, defeated Dawn Rattan. Ward 3 (two-year unexpired term): Incumbent Lisa Larson-Bunnel, 51.4%, defeated Kevin Straub. Ward 4: Jill Chalfie, 53.7%, defeated Kris Durbin.

Blue Valley school board: At-large: Incumbent Tom Mitchell, 70.9%, defeated Ashish Patel. Member 2: Incumbent Patrick Hurley, 57.8%, defeated Renee Bartholome. Member 3: Jodie Dietz, 63.9%, defeated Stephanie James.

Olathe school board: Member 2: Brad Boyd, 58%, defeated Josh Vincent.

Shawnee Mission school board: Member 1: Incumbent Sara Goodburn, 39.5%, defeated Lisa Feingold, 35.1%, and Brian Koon, 25%. Member 3: Jessica Hembree, 76.8%, defeated Brian Brown. Member 5: Jamie Borgman, 71.6%, defeated Devin Wilson.

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Sarah Ritter covers Johnson County for The Kansas City Star. Formerly a reporter for the Quad-City Times, Sarah is a graduate of Augustana College.