Voters dealt blows to three Overland Park City Council incumbents seeking reelection on Tuesday, opting instead to select two newcomers and a former councilmember to represent them.
Based on the unofficial election results from the 2023 municipal elections, councilmembers Thomas Carignan, Faris Farassati and Scott Hamblin have lost their reelection bids. Voters in Ward 3, Ward 5 and Ward 6 have elected Richard Borlaza, Inas Younis and Chris Newlin, respectively.
Additionally, Councilmember Holly Grummert has won her reelection bid, and voters picked Drew Mitrisin to represent them in Ward 2.
All election results are unofficial until the vote canvass at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Councilmember Holly Grummert handedly defeated challenger Carol R. Merritt. As of Tuesday evening, she took home 74% of the votes, leading her opponent by about 1,800 votes.
“I think we had some great touch points with voters this cycle, and so I was happy to see those results, that I can continue to represent Ward 1 for another four years,” Grummert told the Post Wednesday morning.
Grummert was first elected to the Overland Park City Council in 2019. She is currently the chair of the Public Safety Committee.
She said she’s going to continue to prioritize the “essential services” residents value, like investments in public safety and infrastructure, as well as parks and recreation.
“I look forward to working with this new council that we’ve gotten and just keep moving Overland Park forward,” she said. “I think some good stuff is going to be coming up these next couple years.”
Drew Mitrisin leads Jameia Haines in the race to replace Councilmember Paul Lyons, who did not run for reelection this year.
Mitrisin earned about 64% of the votes and currently has a roughly 1,500-vote lead over Haines.
“Thank you for trusting me,” Mitrisin said of his future constituents. “They can count on me to be responsive, be transparent, and keep the city moving in the right direction.”
Lyons served 16 years on the city council.
Richard Borlaza snagged 51% of the vote, leading incumbent Councilmember Tom Carignan by approximately 180 votes on Tuesday evening.
“I look forward to addressing the concerns of our residents and to start getting to work,” Borlaza told the Post on election night.
Carignan was first elected to the Overland Park City Council in 2019. He’s one of the more moderate members of the body, tending to vote with the majority of the city council on most issues. He’s a past chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City.
“I certainly wish Richard (Borlaza) the best,” Carignan said Tuesday evening. He also posted on Facebook congratulating Borlaza. “When we all work together and work for the community, Overland Park wins.”
Gregg Riess ran unopposed in the Ward 4 councilmember race. He will replace long-serving Councilmember Fred Spears, who did not seek another term.
Riess took home about 4,600 votes.
Spears was first elected in 2003.
Inas Younis currently leads incumbent Councilmember Farassati by more than 775 votes.
“I think the voters of Overland Park have spoken and I am so looking forward to serving my community and to being the voice that they deserve,” Younis told the Post Tuesday evening.
She said she’s “overjoyed” and “humbled” to be elected.
Farassati was appointed to the city council in 2017 and elected to serve his first full term in 2019.
“I respect the vote of the people of Overland Park,” Farassati said. “I wish whoever wants to serve the city with honor and integrity best of luck.”
He said he’s willing to support any residents as a constituent himself.
With 61% of the votes, Chris Newlin seems poised to beat incumbent Councilmember Hamblin. He currently leads Hamblin by nearly 1,500 votes.
“Ward 6 really came out to support my candidacy and wanted to see me back on the council doing the good things that I did for my previous four years,” Newlin said. “I look forward to serving the entire community from 135th Street to 199th Street.”
He said he’s looking forward to “putting that effort back into what’s needed and being a successful councilmember in Ward 6.”
Previously, Newlin served a term on the Overland Park City Council, holding the other Ward 6 seat, but Councilmember Jeff Cox spoiled his reelection bid in 2021.
Hamblin has run into hot water with the Kansas Ethics Commission during his time in office for reported campaign finance violations. He also faced calls to resign after he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. The charges were later dismissed, and an investigation from the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office into his potential ouster was also dropped.
Recently, Mayor Curt Skoog has publicly criticized Hamblin for what he sees as his poor attendance record to city council and committee meetings.
Hamblin could not be reached by phone for comment Tuesday evening.