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Whitehead to assume Solon council seat

Newcomer defeats appointee with 63% of special election votes
Lauren Whitehead.

SOLON– Newcomer Lauren Whitehead defeated appointed incumbent Dale Snipes in the May 30 special city council election.
Whitehead won with 63 percent of the votes cast (139-81), according to final results posted by the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.
She will fill the unexpired term of council member Mark Krall, which ends Dec. 31, and the seat will appear on the November city election ballot.
Whitehead was expected to be sworn into office for the June 7 council meeting after the final tally was canvassed by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors earlier in the day.
Only 220 of Solon’s registered 1,691 voters participated in the election, a turnout of 14.61 percent, but it was still a much stronger showing than in the last two general city elections.
In the 2015 city election, only 53 votes were cast (3.41 percent), and in 2013, 63 ballots were cast (4.51 percent). In contrast, the presidential election turnout featured more than 50 percent turnout locally, while the last two regular school elections attracted 8.2 and 18.37 percent of voters.
The special election was called by citizen petition after Solon council members appointed Snipes to fill Krall’s unexpired term April 5.
Whitehead, Snipes and Kevin Samek made application to be considered for the appointment.
“I am grateful for the support and turnout in our community– it can only mean good things for our town’s future,” Whitehead said via email after the election. “It will be a privilege to serve you. I also want to thank Dale Snipes for a positive and ideas-focused election. I know he will continue to contribute to and improve Solon through his community involvement.”
Snipes congratulated Whitehead and thanked his supporters and voters.
“The support is humbling, as people are still continuing to reach out to me,” Snipes said via email. “As I have always said, I love this town, and the best interests for this town are always on my heart.”
Snipes served a year and a half on the council after an appointment in February of 2015 to replace former council member Ron Herdliska.
He declined to say whether he would seek a council seat in November when three terms expire (the seats occupied by Steve Duncan and Lynn Morris, in addition to Whitehead’s).
“I am considering all my options, and will make that decision at a later date,” he said.
Whitehead said she will stand for re-election.
“I think we all underestimated Solon’s readiness for change, she said of the results. “I hoped for a win, obviously, but never imagined such a margin of victory.”
Whitehead said she did a considerable amount of door-knocking for the campaign, attended a number of city government meetings, and worked the line at the annual firefighters’ breakfast, but also utilized social media.
“Social media was huge in terms of engaging with younger and working folks in Solon in a way that was new for our town,” she said.
Both digital and personal campaigning were essential for sharing her message, she added.
“Both allowed me to learn about what folks want to see happen in Solon in the near future,” she said. “Active campaigning is new to our town and I think my success is a testament to the need for candidates at all levels to take the election to voters rather than wait for people to approach leaders.”