Johnson County election results: Edgerton mayor, Olathe school board and council, more

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Longtime Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts, who has faced growing opposition to the encroaching warehouse development in southwest Johnson County, will fight to retain his seat for another term in November.

Roberts was the top vote-getter with 66.7%, or 138 votes, in Tuesday’s primary election, meaning he will advance to the general election this fall. He will face challenger Brent Carroll, who received 31.9%, or 66 votes.

They both defeated Tyler Winkleman and Jeremy Seifert, who both earned less than 1%.

It’s one of two mayoral primaries in Johnson County, along with the contest for Overland Park mayor. And across the county, voters cast ballots for several other notable races for city council and school board.

Upset in Overland Park mayor race: Councilman loses to newcomer and a longtime foe

About 60% of eligible voters in Johnson County had races to vote for on Tuesday. But with all precincts reporting, the Johnson County election office showed that 13.6%, or 36,741 voters, cast ballots.

Roberts has touted growth of the giant Logistics Park Kansas City during his 12 years as mayor, saying the booming industrial park is bringing new jobs and tax revenue to the tiny town of 1,700 residents.

But as more warehouses continue to be built, expanding Edgerton’s city limits, many in the community have grown outraged and worried that more farmland will be bought up for industrial development. Some neighbors just outside of town in Miami County are so frustrated they are attempting to create their own city to keep out the kinds of warehouses that Edgerton has welcomed.

Carroll is employed at the logistics park. But he argues that while new roads and infrastructure are built for the industrial park, Edgerton residents have yet to see improvements in town. Edgerton’s downtown has hardly been touched, with one main street of brick buildings, City Hall, a bank, post office, library and church.

And Carroll has questions about the tax incentives routinely granted to developers there and the pledge that those will soon pay off for residents.

Olathe school board

Two newcomers, Julie Steele and Jennifer Gilmore, will head to the November election hoping to secure a seat on the Olathe school board, as the district grapples with how to bring students back to classrooms amid a new COVID-19 surge.

Steele won 44.8% of the vote, followed by Gilmore with 30.7%. They defeated Ryan Campbell, 17.7%, Tiffany Seaman, 5.5%, and Stephen Todd, 1.3%.

They hope to replace the retiring Brent McCune.

Steele, is a former special education and early childhood teacher in Olathe schools, and won the support of McCune. Steele, 50, has four children, including three who have graduated from the district. Steele has said she sides with the science, and with the delta variant leading to skyrocketing coronavirus cases, she would support health officials’ recommendations on mandates.

Gilmore, 40, is a former planning commissioner for the city of Gardner. She has worked in several school districts as a substitute teacher, payroll and compliance coordinator and high school bookkeeper. She has two daughters in the district. She supports families following COVID-19 protocols, such as hand washing and continual cleaning, but thinks masks should be optional.

Olathe City Council

The top vote-getters will move on to compete for two open Olathe City Council seats this fall.

For the at-large seat, newcomer Dean Vakas won 45.9%, to Councilman Kevin Gilmore’s 44%. They defeated David Laughter, with 10%.

Gilmore is seeking a full term in an at-large seat, after being appointed to fill a vacancy in the 3rd Ward last year. He also serves as the director of pensions and benefits for the Church of the Nazarene.

Vakas, chairman of the Olathe Planning Commission, has 30 years of military experience. He retired last year as chief operating officer of the Kansas State University Olathe Campus.

In the 3rd Ward, east of Interstate 35 and south of Santa Fe Street, Wayne Janner won 33.7% of the vote, followed by LeEtta Felter with 29.8%. They defeated Benjamin Nogueras Lleras Jr., 20.7%, Larry Brown, 6%, Luciana Ortega-Garcia, 5%, and Dustin Fuller, 4.8%.

Janner serves on the Olathe Planning Commission and founded a local Keller Williams Realty franchise.

Felter is a member of the Olathe school board, and she said she’d like to serve in both positions if elected to council.

Lenexa City Council

Two City Council seats were on the primary ballot.

Incumbent Corey Hunt, seeking reelection in the 3rd Ward, won 48.3% of the vote and will face challenger Melanie Arroyo, 43.5%. They defeated newcomers Laura Hill, 5.8%, and Gael Wheeler, 2.5%.

In the 4th Ward, newcomers Craig Denny won 60.3%, followed by Scott Callaway, 25.8%. They defeated Hophine Bwosinde, 13.9%.

Merriam City Council

One Merriam City Council seat, in the 2nd Ward, was on Tuesday’s ballot.

Amy Rider won 56.7% and will advance with Nancy Hammond, 29.8%. They defeated Richard Gendvil, 13.5%.

The winner in November will replace Councilman Brian Knaff, who is not seeing reelection.

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