Filing deadline passes with 4 candidates seeking Shelly Buhler’s Shawnee County Commission seat

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One Democrat and three Republicans will vie in this year’s elections for the District 1 Shawnee County Commission seat being vacated by incumbent Shelly Buhler.

Friday’s filing deadline passed with no new candidates entering the race. That means the three Republicans who had filed for the seat will compete in the Aug. 7 primary election for their party’s nomination for the seat in District 1, which covers much of western Topeka and Shawnee County.

Those Republican candidates are:

• Jeff Coen, who has represented southwest Topeka’s District 8 on the Topeka City Council since 2015. Coen has owned C-Team Studios, a website and graphic design company in Topeka, since 2001.

• Retired rural mail carrier Carol Marple, who farms with her husband, Ben Marple, in southern Shawnee County. Carol Marple won the Republican nomination in the primary election but ran unsuccessfully in the general election for the District 1 seat in 2010 and 2014.

• Bill Riphahn, longtime director of planning and development for Shawnee County Parks and Recreation and previously, the city of Topeka’s parks and recreation department before the city and county departments were merged in 2012.

One Democrat is running in District 1.

That is Chris Palmer, executive director of Cornerstone of Topeka, Inc., a local non-profit affordable housing provider and developer with more than 170 housing units in Topeka.

The winners in the Aug. 7 primary will face off in the Nov. 6 general election to replace Buhler, an Independent who won elections to the District 1 seat in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

District 1 is home to 38,399 registered voters, more than either of the other two Shawnee County Commission districts, according to Shawnee County election records.

Those records show 16,109 District 1 voters are registered as Republicans, 11,081 as Unaffiliated, 10,863 as Democrats and 346 as Libertarians.

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