Topeka City Council Races Take Shape

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Ballots are being filled for Topeka's City Council and Mayoral races, with a flurry of filings taking place Friday.

The filing deadline is noon Tuesday, Jan. 22, but the Topeka City Clerk's office is closed Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Odd-numbered council district seats and the mayor's office are on the ballot, along with council District 2, due to John Alcala election to the state legislature. In addition, the clerk's office is taking applications to fill Alcala's seat and Bob Archer's Dist. 7 seat through the April election. Archer was elected to the Shawnee Co. Commission.

The deadline to apply for the Dist. 2 appointment is 5 pm Tuesday, Jan. 22. The deadline for Dist. 7 applications is 5 pm Tuesday, Jan. 28. Council members will interview the applicants then make a selection.

Among those visiting the clerk's office Friday was former Topeka City Councilwoman Lisa Stubbs. Stubbs applied to fill the Dist. 7 vacancy through April, but she says she will not run for the full term.

Stubbs served from 2001 to 2005, when she made an unsuccessful run for mayor. She made a bit to return to the council in 2009, losing to Archer by just one vote.

Stubbs said she struggled with the decision to seek election to a full term, but decided work and family obligations took priority at this point in her life. However, she says she feels someone with experience is needed to fill the seat in the short term. Plus, she says she would not be trying to gain any advantage in the upcoming election.

Filing to run for the Dist. 7 seat on the April ballot are Edward Collazo and Elaine Schwartz. Both also filed applications to fill the vacancy through the April election.

Also Friday, Michael Ogle filed to run for the Mayor's office. The other announced candidate in the race is council member Larry Wolgast. Current Bill Bunten is not seeking re-election.

With Wolgast leaving his Dist. 5 seat for the mayoral race, two candidates filed Friday seeking to take his place. They are retired firefighter William "Shay" Foley and Topeka Habitat for Humanity director Michelle de la Isla

So far, Dist. 2 is the only race requiring a Feb. 26 primary to narrow the field to two candidates for the April 2 general election. TJ Brown, Jose Martin Munoz and John Campos filed their candidate paperwork. Brown and Munoz also have applied to fill the seat through the April election and Campos has indicated he intends to do the same.

In filings previously announced, Dist. 1 incumbent Karen Hiller is challenged by Matt Bevens. Dist. 3 incumbent Sylvia Ortiz and Dist. 9 incumbent Richard Harmon are both currently unopposed.