Voters re-elected two commissioners in Sedgwick County, but it’s not clear if one of them will actually serve a second term.
In the 2nd District race, unofficial general election results show Republican Commissioner Michael O’Donnell edging Democrat Sarah Lopez in a close race by a vote of 50% to 48%.
For the 3rd District, Republican David Dennis won with a solid lead over Democrat Mike Iuen. Dennis received 66% of the vote to Iuen’s 34%.
Even though O’Donnell won the race, he said last weekend that he won’t accept a second term due to his current legal troubles. O’Donnell is under pressure to resign for taking part in a cover-up plot involving a negative campaign video last year.
He faces a defamation lawsuit filed by the Wichita mayor and is under investigation by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office. His colleagues on the Sedgwick County Commission voted last week to formally censure O’Donnell for his actions.
O’Donnell’s last-minute political maneuver was an effort to keep a Republican in his 2nd District seat. If O’Donnell resigns as planned, the Sedgwick County Republican Party will fill the vacancy.
Early results gave Lopez the lead through the halfway point of precincts reporting. The margin in the race is less than 600 votes.
This was Lopez’s first political campaign. She works in IT for the Ascension Via Christi hospital group.
Dennis began his tenure on the Sedgwick County Commission in 2016. Dennis was a teacher for 11 years. Before that, he was in the U.S. Air Force for 29 years and retired at the rank of colonel. He served on a variety of local, state and regional organizations before joining the county commission.
Dennis said he is looking forward to serving the county for four more years.
“We have a number of issues that we have to continue with: behavioral health is at the top of that list; transportation to finish up trying to get the northwest bypass moving; we need to get people back to work; and get the economy moving again,” Dennis said.
Iuen retired in 2016 from a career in local TV news that spanned more than three decades. This was his first run for public office.
County commissioners are elected to four-year terms. They serve as the governing body for Sedgwick County, setting policy and budgets. It’s a full-time job with a salary of about $95,000.