An update to the tally from last week’s election that includes previously uncounted mail-in ballots has changed the dynamics of one of the races for the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.
Challenger Janeé Hanzlick, who had been trailing by 22 votes in the unofficial count released Tuesday night, is now up by 71 votes. That means incumbent Jason Osterhaus would need a large margin in any provisional ballots that are included in the final results if he hopes to hold on to his seat.
The county will have its canvass Wednesday. Final results with provisional ballots included are likely to be presented to the board of county canvassers — which is made up of the county commissioners and county manager — on Thursday.
Should she maintain her lead in the final results, Hanzlick would be the second challenger to unseat an incumbent this cycle. Roeland Park city councilmember Becky Fast appears to have narrowly defeated District 1 incumbent Ron Shaffer, the former mayor of Prairie Village. Fast’s lead over Shaffer grew from 464 Tuesday to 539 in the updated count released Friday.
The two other incumbents on the ballot last week, County Chair Ed Eilert and District 5 Commissioner Michael Ashcraft, easily held on to their seats.
Of the two potential changes on the commission, Hanzlick’s defeat of Osterhaus would likely have the greatest impact on the trajectory of the body. Osterhaus was among the four commissioners who voted to oust County Manage Hannes Zacharias last year. Shaffer, Eilert and District 2 Commissioner Jim Allen voted to retain Zacharias.
Osterhaus is also the commissioner who appointed Mike Pirner to the board of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. Pirner’s term is set to expire Jan. 31. He’s set to become chair of the parks board — but someone else would have to take that position if Hanzlick were to appoint someone else to take his place.