Anti-mask protester facing felony charges files to run for Douglas County Commission

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Justin Spiehs speaks during the public comment portion of the Wednesday, April 13, 2022, Douglas County Commission meeting.

A Lawrence resident who has protested efforts by the Lawrence school district and Douglas County health leaders to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus — and who is facing felony charges — has filed to run for a seat on the Douglas County Commission.

The resident, Justin Spiehs, filed Wednesday as a Republican candidate for County Commission District No. 1. Commissioner Patrick Kelly currently holds that seat, and Kelly’s four-year term expires in January 2023. Kelly has yet to file for reelection.

Spiehs, who has likened mask-wearing to child abuse, is the second candidate to file to run for the seat; Dustin Stumblingbear, a Lawrence resident and former City Commission candidate, filed as a Democratic candidate at the beginning of this year.

Spiehs was charged with three felonies, two of them for aggravated assault and one for interference with a law enforcement officer, after an altercation at a vaccine clinic hosted at West Middle School last December. He’s next scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing April 21.

The filing deadline for the 2022 election is June 1, according to the Douglas County Elections Office. A primary election, if needed, would take place Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.