More than who won or lost, what was most notable about the vote in Kansas Aug. 1 primary is the how few people decided the candidates to move forward in these races that will have such a great impact on our daily lives. Both Kansas City and Topeka were electing mayors, the person that guides the direction of their City, yet only 12% of eligible voters turned out in Topeka and just over 14% in Kansas City.
In Wichita, the vote wasn’t citywide, there was only one primary for a city council district. We recognize that the small area covered by the election made it difficult to get any synergy going about the election. Still, in such a closely connected community where we would bet at least 50% of the eligible voters knew at least one of the candidates personally, its hard phantom why only 8% of the eligible voters turned out.
In their vote to move the local elections to August primaries and November general elections, the Kansas legislature hoped the standardized election date would help increase voter turnout. So far, the move has shown little if any impact.
If the candidates hope to win, it appears there greatest challenge isn’t just getting their message out, it’s getting their constituents motivated enough to vote.
It was a four-way primary for the District One City Council seat being vacated by Councilwoman Lavonta Williams who could not run again due to term limits. All of the candidates were active in the community and well informed on the issues.
Advancing to the general election is Brandon Johnson who had great primary results taking home 52% of the vote. Coming second was Mike Kinard, the only one of the four candidates with previous elected official experience.
The primary field for Topeka mayor reduced the field from five candidates to two. Current City Council member Michelle De La Isla came in first with 41% of the vote. In second place was Spencer Duncan. Current Mayor Larry Wolgast did not seek reelection.
The primary field for Kansas City Mayor had three competitors taking on incumbent Mayor Mark Holland. Holland came out on top in this race, taking almost 42% of the vote. Also advancing Is Kansas City businessman David Alvey with 29% of the vote. Long-term Kansas and former mayoral candidate David Haley came in third with 19% of the vote.
Although we didn’t cover this race in our special election issue, Wyandotte incumbent Sheriff Donald Ash had four competitors. Ash advances, receiving just under 49% of the vote. Also advancing is 10 year Sheriff’s Deputy Celisha Towers, who received 23% of the vote.
In the District 8 City Commission primary incumbent Jane Philbrook advanced with 55% of the vote, but political newcomer Kendon McClaine will advance as well with 30% of the vote.
There was a 10 way race for a seat on the Junction City Commission. The candidates were competing for three open seats and the top six vote getters advanced. In that race, we were following Nicholas Allbritton, the only African-American candidate. Albritton advances, and appears in a strong position, with the third highest number of votes.