Incumbents keeps seats with newcomers poised to join Topeka City Council

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Voters elected three new faces to join three incumbents on the Topeka City Council.

In unofficial returns, Dist. 1 representative Karen Hiller was elected to her third term, defeating Lanell Griffith by a 73- to 26- percent margin.

In Dist. 3, Sylvia Ortiz remains the longest-tenured council member by winning her fourth term with 68 percent of the vote over Janel Clay-Bills. Ortiz joins John Alcala as the only people elected to four terms.

Tony Emerson was elected to his first full term representing Dist. 4. He was appointed to the seat in May 2016, after Jonathan Schumm resigned as part of a diversion agreement in a child abuse case. Schumm ran for the seat again, and was the number two vote-getter, with 21 percent to Emerson's 68 percent. Breta Bloomberg tallied 9 percent of the vote.

Dist. 5 will welcome a new face to the council, albeit a familiar one. Mike Padilla earned 60 percent of the vote to take the seat Michelle De La Isla had held when she opted to run for mayor. Padilla retired following a 33-year career with the Topeka Police Dept. Scott Bowman and Brett Kell also vied for the position, taking 21 and 18 percent of the vote, respectively.

The race in Dist. 7 turned out to be the most competitive, with Aaron Mays winning over Ping Enriquez, 57 percent to 42 percent. Elaine Schwartz opted against seeking a second term.

In a three-way race in Dist. 9, Mike Lesser easily outdistanced the field. He took 69 percent of the vote, followed by Justin Titzman with 17 percent and Joe Cheray with 14 percent. Richard Harmon had held the seat for three terms, starting in 2005.

The new council members will be sworn in January 8, along with new mayor Michelle De La Isla.

Full election results