Here’s who has filed to run for Johnson County commission chair

Four candidates have filed to run for Johnson County Commission chair in August's election. They include, clockwise from top left, Shirley Allenbrand, Ken Selzer, Mike Kelly and Charlotte O'Hara. File photo.

Wednesday marked the deadline for candidates to file to run in August’s primary for Johnson County commission chair. 

Current county chair and longtime Johnson County political mainstay Ed Eilert is retiring from the position this fall. 

The race for the chairmanship is officially nonpartisan, and the primary open, with the top two vote-getters in August advancing to the November general election.

Here’s what to know about the four candidates who have filed to run to succeed Eilert, presented here in the order in which they filed at the county election office: 

Charlotte O’Hara

  • Charlotte O’Hara.

    An Overland Park native, O’Hara current serves as 3rd District Commissioner on the county commission, representing southern Overland Park, a sliver of Leawood, Stilwell and Spring Hill.

  • She previously served as a district chair for the Republican Party from 2007 to 2009 and as a Kansas state representative for one term from 2011-2012.
  • Outside of electoral office, she has worked in education and in manufacturing in Olathe, according to her campaign website.
  • O’Hara calls herself as a “common sense conservative”: her online platform identifies open government, public safety and addressing parent concerns around education and rising property taxes as some of her top campaign priorities.
  • She is endorsed by the anti-abortion advocacy group Kansans for Life

Ken Selzer

  • Ken Selzer.

    Selzer lives in Leawood and has lived in Johnson County for 45 years and at one time served on the Fairway City Council when he was a resident of that city. 

  • He was elected as Kansas Insurance Commissioner in 2015 and served in the role until 2019.
  • A Certified Public Accountant, he has worked as an executive managing director at international insurance services firm Aon.
  • On his campaign website, Selzer says some of his top campaign priorities will be a careful consideration of county budgets, access to public meetings and reviewing operations at the County Appraiser’s office, which determines home property values that impact annual property taxes. 

Mike Kelly

  • Mike Kelly.

    Kelly, a Johnson County native, currently serves as the mayor of Roeland Park and is also chairman of regional nonprofit Climate Action KC, which works to promote policies that reduce carbon emissions around the Kansas City area.

  • He also works in real estate, design and construction litigation law at Kansas City law firm Husch Blackwell.
  • Some of the priorities outlined in his platform on his campaign website so far include public safety, attracting and retaining “quality companies in high-growth industries” and investing in “smart infrastructure.”

Shirley Allenbrand

  • Shirley Allenbrand.

    Allenbrand currently serves as 6th District Commissioner on the county commission, representing parts of Olathe and much of the unincorporated southwest corner of Johnson County.

  • She is a lifelong Olathe resident who has also been a member of various local and national community groups, including the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and American Health Care Association.
  • She also owns design company Allenbrand & Associates Design, which focuses on senior living communities.
  • Top issues and priorities identified in her campaign so far include public safety, maintaining the county’s libraries and building collaboration on the commission on issues like mental health and affordable housing.