Marc Elkins defeats Steve Hentzen to become Leawood’s next mayor

Marc Elkins

Unofficial election results from Tuesday night show Marc Elkins (above) as Leawood's next mayor, succeeding outgoing Mayor Peggy Dunn. File photo.

Long-time public servant Marc Elkins has become the unofficial next mayor of the city of Leawood.

Unofficial results as of Tuesday night from the Johnson County Election Office show Elkins in the lead for the mayoral seat, succeeding outgoing Mayor Peggy Dunn after her 25 years in the role.

City council seats in four city wards were also up for grabs. With a new mayor and three new councilmembers, Leawood faces a significant changing of the guard in January.

Incumbent candidate Lisa Harrison in Ward 3 and newcomer Steven Kaster in Ward 4 will take the city council seats after running unopposed in their respective wards.

All election results are unofficial until the vote canvass at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Two candidates ran in the mayoral race

Elkins faced off against IT developer Steve Hentzen, and took the lead with 57% of the votes. 

Elkins currently serves as the chair of the Leawood Planning Commission, which he’s held for the past nine years. Before becoming Planning Commission Chair, he served as a board member on the Pplanning commission and a member of the Leawood Arts Council.

As outgoing Mayor Dunn’s replacement, Elkins said he intends to focus on connecting with homeowners associations in the city and modernizing the city’s development ordinance — especially pertaining to the 135th Street corridor.

On Tuesday night, Elkins told the Post he was “humbled” that Leawood voters had the confidence in him to follow Dunn, and he looks forward to the transition process.

“That process of working for the people of the city and continuing the really high levels of service that we provide to our citizens is the thing I’m looking most forward to,” he said. “While we have all agreed that this was a pivotal election for Leawood because of changes in the city council, I think we’ve got a good institutional knowledge and a good amount of pragmatic common sense that will go into making the decisions we need to make during the next several years.”

Hentzen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday night.

Alan Sunkel won the Ward 1 race

Alan Sunkel
Alan Sunkel garnered the most votes for the Ward 1 seat on the Leawood City Council. File photo.

Alan Sunkel beat opponents Charles Brettell and Matt Peppes for the Ward 1 City Council seat, garnering 53% of the votes by Tuesday night.

A former business owner and mail carrier, Sunkel formed a campaign around wanting to help Leawood residents reap the “many benefits of a good public infrastructure” and support Leawood through its next phase of growth.

On Wednesday morning, Sunkel said his first priority on the council will be to determine the future of the old City Hall and Fire Station property off 96th Street and Lee Boulevard, which he gathered input from residents about during his campaign.

“It was a very spirited race in Ward 1 with much community interest and I think that is to the benefit of the residents of north Leawood,” he said.
In a statement Wednesday, Brettell said he plans to still fight for the changes he wants to see in the city, even if he doesn’t do so as an elected official.
“While disappointing that our campaign failed to deliver a council seat, I’m heartened that even with both parties and the current council working against us, we still showed up and voiced our opinions,” he said. “Rather than retreat into the background, I intend to continue to work for the issues I believe in and hold the Governing Body accountable to the people of Ward 1 and the City.”

Sherrie Gayed won the Ward 2 race

Sherrie Gayed
Sherrie Gayed earned the most votes for the Ward 2 seat on the Leawood City Council. File photo.

Sherrie Gayed beat opponent Margaret Berger for the Ward 2 City Council seat, garnering 57% of the votes by Tuesday night.

Gayed currently serves on the Leawood Planning Commission, and she has also served on the City of Leawood Sustainability Advisory Board. Gayed campaigned on the promise of bringing an “analytical eye” to new development discussions in Leawood and improving communication with residents.

Gayed did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday night.

“I had hoped to serve Leawood as a city council member,” said Berger on Wednesday morning. ” That didn’t happen.  I hope the path forward (is) that the new administration forges benefits all of the citizens of Leawood so that we all prosper in these challenging times.”