SHAWNEE — Voters on Tuesday elected a new mayor and supported other candidates backed by a grassroots political group seeking change in city government since a controversial tax election.
The makeup of the city commission will change drastically with races in four of the seven commission seats this election cycle. Along with the mayor's position, voters had Wards 2, 3, and 4 to consider.
Incumbents have been considered vulnerable since voters on Feb. 14 defeated a sales and property tax initiative to raise $50 million for city projects.
A group calling itself Citizen for Responsible Government campaigned for the defeat of Mayor Linda Peterson, 52, and Ward 2 Commissioner Billy Collier, 53, and to fill a vacancy created when Ward 4 Commissioner Frank Sims, 54, decided to run for Pottawatomie County commissioner.
The group's mayoral candidate, Wesley Mainord, 67, defeated Peterson, 1,825 to 1,083. Ed Cole, 43, a third candidate for mayor, received 228 votes.
Peterson already was picking up her campaign signs Tuesday after the results came in.
She said the unpopularity of the $50 million tax initiative contributed to her defeat, but she was not sorry she supported it. She served one term as mayor and several years as vice mayor.
“I'd rather serve one term as a mayor who tries to promote progress than a mayor who serves two terms and does nothing,” Peterson said.
Mainord said he was reluctant to run initially, but his father, Gifford Mainord, convinced him it was the right thing to do. He said his father died about three weeks ago.
“Dad loved this community as much as I do,” Mainord said. “I want to do a good job for the citizens of Shawnee and him.”
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