TOPEKA CITY HALL (WIBW) -- Topeka City elections aren't held until later this month before the main election April 2nd. But the recent rush of two City Council members to higher elective offices put the Council in the position of choosing two new successors Tuesday night.
Six hopefuls asked to be interviewed for the vacated seats in District 2 (where John Alcala departed for the Kansas House) and District 7 (following Bob Archer's election to the Shawnee County Commission) and brought an early arrival of the spring election season in Topeka.
Each candidate gave an opening statement, then offered their written responses to questions submitted to the City Clerk (and to the candidates) in advance.
Challengers brought to the podium Tuesday night included Oakland NIA leader T. J. Brown, Lupita's Restaurant owner Martin Munoz, and fellow candidate John Campos.
After 3 ballots where Brown led 4 to 3 over Munoz, with Sylvia Ortiz sticking with her vote for John Campos, Mayor Bill Bunten shifted his vote to Brown, making him the newest council member for the Oakland and North Topeka district.
Then, the next three interviewees went before the Council, answering the same sets of questions including the size of the budget, how they define their districts, and their definitions of leadership and city government transparency. Washburn Adjunct Law Professor Edward Collazo took the early advantage over former state lawmaker Elaine Schwartz for the elective post, defeating Schwartz 5 to 2. Lisa Stubbs did receive one vote after her interview.
Brown and Collazo were quickly sworn in, taking their Council seats, which are guaranteed until the Council meeting on April 9th.
Those not chosen tonight (except for Stubbs) will be back on the campaign trail in their districts with another opportunity for an election victory on February 26th.