WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sarah Lopez was declared the winner of the Sedgwick County Commission District 2 race on Monday.
Lopez beat incumbent Michael O’Donnell by 264 votes to secure the win. She said it was challenging for both her and her family not knowing what was to come but said the results of the tight race made the win even sweeter.
“I was really excited, kind of in shock that oh my gosh we did it,” said Lopez.
While Sarah Lopez fell behind on election night, she said he didn’t concede because she believed her outreach for voting by mail would pay off.
“Everybody told us we were crazy. I mean I am a first-time candidate. we’re going against like the top local guy, and people said it was impossible, but I think between myself, and my team, and you know my manager, we were like that motivated us, even more, to work hard,” she said.
Once Lopez takes the seat in January, she will be the first Hispanic woman to serve as county commissioner and the seventh female to serve. It will be the first time since 2004 that the commission will see two women serve at the same time.
Commissioner Lacey Cruse said it’s what the commission needs.
“She really spent time with people understanding their problems and listening and that’s the biggest thing you have to do as a commissioner,” said Lacey Cruse.
Lopez said it will take time to gain the trust of district two but said she’s ready to give every person in the county a voice.
“I know right now I will have to do some damage control and so I know I have to work really hard to earn people’s trust and harder to keep it,” said Lopez.
Lopez said the first thing she plans to do is create a citizens advisory board to hold elected officials accountable.
On Friday, O’Donnell resigned from the commission after the Sedgwick County District Attorney concluded that based on findings of a recent investigation, there was evidence which indicated ouster proceedings were appropriate.