OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County residents will be electing a new chair of the county commission this November, and retiring chair Ed Eilert has announced a surprising endorsement.

Johnson County Commission races are nonpartisan, so political parties don’t appear next to candidates’ name. But Eilert, a Republican, told FOX4 on Thursday he’s endorsed Mike Kelly, a Democrat, to replace him.

Kelly is the current mayor of Roeland Park. He’s running against, Charlotte O’Hara, a Republican and the current 3rd District commissioner in the county. Eilert has decided to not run for re-election.

In an interview with FOX4 Thursday, Eilert said the responsibility of leadership is to provide opportunities to others, and he thinks Kelly is the right person to be the next chair.

“I’m not going to make any comments about other candidates,” Eilert said. “I have evaluated the candidates, and I am supporting Mr. Kelly.”

If either Kelly or O’Hara lose the November election, they maintain their current elected positions. If O’Hara wins, Eilert said a new 3rd District commissioner would be appointed to her old position.

FOX4 will be interviewing both candidates on 4Star Politics. Our interview with Kelly airs first this Saturday. Our interview with O’Hara airs Oct. 22. You can watch 4Star Politics on FOX4 at 5:30 a.m. Saturdays or on fox4kc.com.

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