Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell won’t accept second term if re-elected
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In a statement on his Facebook page, Michael O’Donnell said he would not accept his second term as Sedgwick County Commissioner if he is re-elected.
“After much prayer and consideration I’ve realized my candidacy is too much of a distraction,” O’Donnell said.
According to O’Donnell, this will allow Republican precinct committee members to select his replacement if he is re-elected.
Later in an interview with Eyewitness News, O’Donnell said this decision is his way of taking the spotlight off of him and putting the focus on getting a Republican candidate to take his place.
“At the end of the day my goal is to keep this seat in Republican hands,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell is running against Democratic candidate, Sarah Lopez.
The resignation comes days after Eyewitness news obtained a recording where O’Donnell, state representative Michael Capps and Wichita City Council Member James Clendenin are heard attempting to shift blame of the false attack ad against Mayor Whipple.
“I am remorseful for a lot of things that have happened, but I also have done a lot over the last decade serving at the city, state and county, but I do not want a Democrat to take this seat because of any issue that I have caused and that is the most important thing in my opinion is focusing on making sure a republican stay in that seat,” O’Donnell said.
His Democratic opponent doesn’t believe he will actually step down.
“I think at the end of the day I don’t believe that if he won this election, he would step down he has lied to us many times before I don’t know why this time would be different,” Lopez said.
She said the situation hasn’t impacted her campaign.
“I think there is a lot of people who have been on the fence with him for quite some time,” Lopez said. “It’s one thing after another. It’s like fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, well with Michael, we are at six, seven, eight, and we are tired of it and that’s as his constituent. The people in our district deserve better. We know it.”
Eyewitness News has reached out to other county commission members to get their reaction. Commissioner Pete Meitzner said it’s a personal decision for O’Donnell, but if it were him he would resign.
In another statement, the Sedgwick County Republican Party said they welcomed his decision.
They also pushed for Capps and Clendenin, the two other men involved in the scandal, to “take responsibility for their actions.”
“Though the actions of the past year have caused much hurt and pain, now is the time to move past this disheartening period in our County.”
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