Archive for Election 2017

Opinion: Next question in the mayoral contest concerns endorsements

State Sen. David Haley, seen at his campaign watch party Aug. 1 at Gates restaurant at 10th and State Avenue, hoped the primary campaign changed the focus of the election to more economic development for the eastern part of Wyandotte County. His endorsement could be important in the general election. (Staff photo)

Window on the West
Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

While state Sen. David Haley did not make it through the primary election for mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, on Aug. 1, he may still wield a lot of influence, if he chooses to endorse another candidate.

Candidate endorsements may play a role in the general election. Incumbent Mayor Mark Holland received the endorsement of the MainStream Coalition before the primary, and he also was supported by some prominent leaders of the local Democratic Party. Challenger David Alvey received the pre-primary endorsement of the police and firefighter political action committees. Alvey also may have some Board of Public Utilities individuals’ support, and some support from former county government employees.

Endorsements may not be all that is needed, however. During the mayoral election four years ago, Nathan Barnes’ gave his endorsement to Ann Murguia, but it was not enough to win the election.

Despite being underfunded and entering the primary campaign late, Sen. Haley still received 18.5 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Holland and 31.6 percent for Alvey. Janice Witt received 7.4 percent of the vote, and D. Keith Jordan, 2.37 percent.

On the day before the primary election, Sen. Haley said he heard during his campaigning from a lot of people concerned about high property taxes. That was one of Haley’s campaign themes, along with a pledge to expand economic development to the eastern part of the county. At different times, other mayoral candidates expressed the same positions.

Campaign spending

According to Haley, Holland raised about 15 to 1 in campaign dollars in the primary compared to him, and Holland reported around twice as much as Alvey.

Haley said he raised about $4,000, and spent about $3,500. Haley quipped that he would probably receive more votes per his campaign expenditures than the other candidates.

The mayor’s contest was a bit hard to predict for some observers because three candidates, Holland, Alvey and Haley, had good name recognition from running for office in the past, and some of them had well-known family members who were on the ballot in past years, as well.

Holland remarked at his election night watch party that it was the fourth time he had run county-wide. Having a campaign team of volunteers in place county-wide made a difference, and apparently, the funds available to send out mailers to voters.

Alvey said at his election night watch party that he intended to expose Holland’s statements that everything was going well in Wyandotte County. He also said he favored development in other parts of the county.

At his election night watch party, Haley wanted it known that his campaign had shifted the focus to other parts of Wyandotte County, and he was in favor of developing and helping small businesses in other parts of the county.

While the candidates usually don’t oppose Village West or the developments near it, they often have said during the campaign that they want new developments in other parts of the community.

Turnout was key

Voter turnout was one of the keys to the Aug. 1 primary. There is speculation that some voters were so disillusioned with national politics that they didn’t vote in the primary. The turnout showed that candidates were able to get voters to the polls despite some misgivings on citizens’ part. While Haley sometimes drew attention to areas that needed improvement during the campaign, he also said there were a lot of good things to report on the local level.

Haley, a Democrat who plans to keep serving in the state Senate, said although the municipal elections are nonpartisan, he believed that he and Alvey were competing for the Republican votes in the county.

Briefly glancing around some of the watch parties on election night, I observed some past and present leaders of the local Democrats at Holland’s party, with some others also at Haley’s.

Haley’s opinion was that the highly contested Sheriff’s contest, where five people were running, might help turn out Republican voters, who then might either vote for Haley or Alvey. An old maxim is that low turnouts favor incumbents.

Turnout here was 17.87 percent of registered voters, according to the election office, and that is considered good compared to other large counties’ primary elections on Aug. 1. Several candidate forums were held to increase voter awareness, some mailers were sent out by candidates, and the election office sent out postcards with information about voting.

There have been some comments about a low turnout, but it was pretty good or normal compared to other primary elections in the past. If we want to see turnouts of 80 or 90 percent, perhaps we’d better invent a secure way of voting from home via television or phone, or schedule elections on Sunday afternoon, providing free transportation.


In my story of July 30 about the Sheriff’s contest, Celisha Towers was listed as a Sheriff’s office employee. That is incorrect. She was a Sheriff’s Department employee in 2016, but not in 2017. (I had checked it on a UG personnel list at, but a change had been made in employment since the list was made.)

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email


Primary election turnout for local Wyandotte County contests considered good

The voter turnout for the primary election Aug. 1 in Wyandotte County is considered good compared to previous primaries, according to Election Commissioner Bruce Newby.

The final figure for voter turnout in Wyandotte County was 13,773, or 17.87 percent of the vote, he said.

“The candidates generated a lot of buzz, got people interested,” Newby said.

Wyandotte County also had a better voter turnout percentage than Shawnee County, (the Topeka area), which had 12.58 percent, according to the Shawnee County election commission’s web page; and Sedgwick County, (the Wichita area), which reported an 8.3 percent turnout, according to the Sedgwick County election web page.

Wyandotte County held vote canvassing today, and no changes were reported in the outcomes of the primary election from last Tuesday night to today’s canvassing, according to Newby. There were changes in the vote totals.

Newby said the Board of Canvasssers voted on whether to accept provisional ballots today.

The closest contest on Tuesday night may have been for second place in the Board of Public Utilities’ 1st position, at large, contest. Incumbent Mary Gonzales placed first with 5,850 votes, while second place was close. Bryan Messmer had 2,055 votes to Kevin Braun’s 2,036, a 19-vote difference. The outcome of this race did not change after provisional votes were counted today.

Vote totals changed slightly, with the addition of 119 provisional ballots. Also, about 59 ballots were not counted, he said, and the largest group of those, about 15, were from voters who forgot to sign their mail-in ballot affidavit and did not go to the election commissioner’s office to sign it by the deadline.

The final, certified Wyandotte County primary totals:
Primary election results, official final results
With 13,773 votes cast, 17.87 percent of registered voters
All precincts are in

UG Mayor- Chief Executive Officer
David Alvey, 4,334 votes, 31.62 percent
David Haley, 2,539 votes, 18.52 percent
Mark R. Holland, incumbent 5,491 votes, 40.06 percent
D. Keith Jordan, 325 votes, 2.37 percent
Janice Grant Witt, 1,019 votes, 7.43 percent

UG Commissioner, 5th District
John T. Fotovich, 447 votes, 11.28 percent
Mike Kane, incumbent, 2,318 votes, 58.51 percent
Sarah Kremer, 1,197 votes, 30.21 percent

UG Commissioner, 7th District
George Cooper, 460 votes, 27.96 percent
Jim A. Gibson, 418 votes, 25.41 percent
Jim Walters, incumbent 767 votes, 46.63 percent

UG Commissioner, 8th District
Brad Isnard, 285 votes, 14.82 percent
Kendon McClaine, 574 votes, 29.85 percent
Jane W. Philbrook, incumbent, 1,064 votes, 55.33 percent


Donald Ash, incumbent 6,609 votes, 49.93 percent
Charles W. Bunnell, 685 votes, 5.18 percent
Marvin L. Main, 1,250 votes, 9.44 percent
Celisha Towers, 2,888 votes, 21.82 percent
Victor Webb, 1,804 votes, 13.63 percent

BPU member, position 1, at-large
Kevin Braun, 2,036 votes, 17.12 percent
Mary Gonzales, incumbent, 5,850 votes, 49.19 percent
Bryan Messmer, 2,055 votes, 17.28 percent
Nikole C. Owens, 1,952 votes, 16.41 percent


Alvey expands campaign team

The David Alvey campaign for mayor is expanding its campaign team, according to an announcement today.

Alvey advanced to the general election in Tuesday night’s primary in a five-way contest, receiving 4,293 votes to incumbent Mayor Mark Holland’s 5,460 votes. David Haley was third with 2,511 votes.

Alvey’s daughter, Juliana Alvey, will serve as campaign chair, according to the announcement.

The campaign has also hired TJP Strategies, a strategic consulting firm founded by Patrick D. Shami, to oversee the campaign’s strategy and voter outreach. Juliana Alvey said she would do day-to-day operations and manage the administrative side of the campaign.

Juliana Alvey said the campaign received many offers from volunteers to help, and the campaign would be reaching out to the volunteers soon.

TJP Strategies will be doing consulting, strategy and utilizing data, as well as helping with outreach and social media, she said.

“I’m very confident about the team we’ve assembled and I’m encouraged by the support that we’ve received thus far,” David Alvey said in a statement. “I could not be more thankful to the team members who have been with us from the beginning, but I’m also looking forward to adding new ideas and forward-thinking to our campaign.”

Alvey, currently an at-large member of the Board of Public Utilities, is a member of Turner Community Connection, and also is an assistant principal for faculty formation at Rockhurst High School, where he leads professional development of the faculty.

“With all the investment taking place, this is a really great time for the Dotte,” Alvey said. “I’m excited to ensure that this development generates real revenues to serve all areas of Wyandotte County. I’m committed to providing quality services to all residents, including better public safety and strong neighborhoods, while reducing the amount residents pay in real tax dollars.”