The people have spoken….meet your new Topeka City Council Members….
By Tim Hrenchir and Justin Wingerter
Topeka Capital Journal 7 Apr 15
The Topeka City Council will have four new members after the defeat of two incumbents in Tuesday’s general election.
District 2 Councilman TJ Brown and District 4 Councilman Nathan Schmidt were defeated by opponents Sandra Clear and Jeffrey Coen, respectively.
In two races without an incumbent, District 4 candidate Jonathan Schumm topped Les Parrish and District 6 candidate Brendan Jensen defeated Jim Lord.
The District 2 race was the most lopsided of the night. Clear cruised to victory with 630 votes to Brown’s 319.
Clear said she was surprised by the results.
“Oh yes, I was surprised,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a lot of hard work and you never, never know.”
Clear credited the hard work of her family for the success of her campaign.
“My husband works a lot on my campaign, my sister. It was just a lot of hard work,” Clear said.
Clear, 59, is a teacher at Osage City Middle School. She has lived in the district her entire life, has been married for 23 years and has six grown children, three biological, three adopted.
Despite never winning an election, Brown has twice held a seat on the city council.
Brown served on the council after being appointed in February 2013 to fill a vacancy left by Councilman John Alcala’s resignation but was defeated in a primary election later that month. The winner of that election, John Campos II, resigned in May 2014 while facing an ouster proceeding. Brown was again appointed District 2 councilman in June 2014 and has represented the North Topeka district since.
Brown and Clear were the only District 2 candidates to run in the March 3 primary election.
In District 4, Schumm defeated Parrish by more than 200 votes. Schumm finished with 793 votes and Parrish had 590.
Schumm, a financial representative with Modern Woodmen of America, said he was humbled by the results.
“It’s my team that made this a reality and I am forever grateful,” he said.
Parrish works at Clear View Inc., a window-cleaning service. He and Schumm received the top two vote totals from among four candidates in the March 3 primary election to place on the ballot in Tuesday’s election.
The race for District 6 was the closest of the night. Jensen finished with 924 votes to Lord’s 881.
Jensen said it felt “fabulous” to win and he owed the victory to a great team behind him.
Jensen, 32, owns and runs a technology strategy company, Jensen Commuications, while Lord, 71, owns and runs Lord’s financial planning. They received the top two vote totals among four candidates in the primary to win places on the ballot in Tuesday’s election.
In District 8, Coen had 997 votes to Schmidt’s 695.
When asked if he was surprised by his victory, Coen said, “the election process is kind of fluid and you can’t really control it.”
Coen credited door-to-door campaigning for his victory.
“I presented my message by going door to door,” Coen said. “I did it every day for 70 days.”
Coen, 43, owns The C-Team Studios, LLC, a local website design, graphic design and videography company.
Coen handily defeated Schmidt and opponent David Mountain in the March 3 primary. Coen finished the primary with 577 votes to Schmidt’s 269 and Mountain’s 34.
Schmidt, 37, has served as the District 8 representative since June 18, 2013, when the Topeka City Council appointed him to finish the unexpired term of former Councilman Andrew Gray. A graduate of Washburn University, he is a senior database administrator for the Kansas Department of Revenue, where he has worked since 2005.
Election totals will become official after County Commissioners Kevin Cook, Shelly Buhler and Bob Archer meet as the county’s board of canvassers Monday to decide the status of any ballots that were classified as provisional because election workers for various reasons questioned their legality. The new council members will be sworn into office on April 14.