Wichita’s $630,000 Mayor; that’s what Dion Lefler, a columnist for the Wichita Eagle, pronounced Lily Wu, the City’s newly elected mayor.  

With record-breaking spending, more than $190,000 of it from Koch-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, Wu, a former television anchor, “stomped” incumbent Mayor Brandon Whipple.  

Wichitans can’t be sure what to expect from their new mayor, since she didn’t offer many ideas for moving Wichita forward during her campaign.  They know for sure that she wants to hire more police officers.  She made that clear over and over and over again.  

She also said she wanted to end sweetheart deals at City Hall.  That just leaves many in the know wondering how she’ll reconcile that promise with the list of wealthy business owners who contributed to her campaign, including her developer boyfriend/finance.

Why did Republicans, Libertarians, big money guys, etc. “invest” $630,000 on a local mayoral race? 

What we tried to make clear before the election, is that this was an election for control of the City Council, not just for the mayor’s seat.  

There are three liberal-leaning members of the City Council – Brandon Johnson, Mike Hoheisel  and Maggie Ballard – all of whom were not up for election.  The three conservative-leaning districts on the council were all up for election.  

Even though two of the council members in those districts – Jeff Blubaugh and Bryan Frye – could not run again due to term limits, it was going to be tough for a liberal candidate to win in those districts.   In fact, all three of the Republican-backed candidates in those races were  elected easily.  

With three liberals to three conservatives, the balance of power lies with the mayor.  That’s why the conservatives and big business owners, including the Kochs, were willing to invest $600,000 in a local mayor’s election.  

Looks like they bought and paid for control of not just the mayor’s race, but the entire city council. 

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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