Finkeldei, Shipley and Boley win seats on the Lawrence City Commission
Two newcomers led the pack in the Lawrence City Commission race and will join incumbent Stuart Boley on the city’s governing body.
Attorney and nonprofit board member Brad Finkeldei finished first in Tuesday’s general election. Fellow newcomer Courtney Shipley and Boley, the only incumbent in the race, joined Finkeldei in the top three.
All three winning candidates watched the election results come in at the Douglas County Courthouse Tuesday evening. Some mail-in ballots will continue to be counted and the canvass will take place Nov. 18. Finkeldei was in the top spot all evening as votes were tallied and finished comfortably ahead in Tuesday’s general election results, about 800 votes ahead of the second-place finisher.
“I’m very humbled by the support I received in the community, very grateful for it,” Finkeldei told the Journal-World as the unofficial results posted. “It means a lot, and I’m looking forward to serving.”
Finkeldei’s top campaign issues were affordable housing, support of social services and infrastructure. When asked what the results communicated to him about his campaign and the issues he stood for, Finkeldei said that his message must have been a unifying one.
“I think it represents that the issues that I support kind of cross all the lines,” Finkeldei said. “It’s not an east-west, Republican-Democrat (message). It’s a message of putting Lawrence first, and I think that resonated with people.”
Shipley, a neighborhood leader who has served on various community and city boards, has been a frequent face at City Hall over the past few years. Shipley said she was excited at her strong showing and thought voters were communicating that the issues she focused on during her campaign mattered.
“Listening, engagement, process, transparency — all the things that I’ve been hammering away at the whole time,” Shipley said. “I think that’s definitely a message.”
Boley finished about 340 votes ahead of the fourth-place finisher, social advocate and community board member Joey Hentzler. Boley, who is a retired auditor with the Internal Revenue Service, was elected to the commission in 2015 and served as mayor last year. He said if the results hold, then he’ll continue to serve Lawrence to the best of his ability. As the lone incumbent, Boley said he was the only candidate with a voting record and he saw Tuesday’s results as an affirmation from voters of the work he’s done.
“Many of them responded favorably to that,” Boley said. “Obviously when you take positions on issues some people will decide that that’s not really what they had in mind, but people in Lawrence are wonderful to work for, and I appreciate the opportunity that they’ve given me.”
The campaign season included approximately a dozen candidate forums, and many candidates actively campaigned for months. Boley recognized the hard work it takes to run a campaign and said he wanted to tip his hat to his fellow candidates.
“It’s been an arduous process, and people have given it good effort,” Boley said. “And I think it’s important for the public to realize how difficult it is to run a campaign and I’ve got to salute all of my fellow candidates.”
The top two vote winners, Finkeldei and Shipley, receive four-year terms. As the third-place finisher, Boley receives a two-year term. The three will join Mayor Lisa Larsen and Vice Mayor Jennifer Ananda on the five-member commission.
Fifth-place finisher, Kansas Army National Guard officer and planning commissioner Rob Sands, trailed Hentzler by about 270 votes. Neighborhood leader and city board member Ken Easthouse finished sixth.
The new City Commission will take office Dec. 3. The changeover will mean the departure of Commissioners Matthew Herbert and Leslie Soden, who did not seek reelection.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated when the new candidates will take office.