Saturday, February 3, 2007

Non-partisan in name only

If you check out Sedgwick County's election policies, city council elections are non-partisan races where candidates don't have to duke it out for their party's nomination or support.

But read through campaign finance reports or attend a few speaking engagements and it's clear that some of the Ds and Rs are picking sides.

Carl Brewer, a democrat, for example, has several donations from county democratic leaders like Kelly Johnston. Democrats even note which candidates are Dems on their website. Brewer's campaign has distributed letters from Johnston and former Lt. Governor Tom Docking and Randy Rathbun to local Democrats.
Mayor Carlos Mayans, a Republican, meanwhile, used the county Republicans' weekly Pachyderm Club meeting last week to highlight his campaign message. Mayoral candidate Larry White also used the Pachyderm forum and next week District 5 candidate Paul Tobia will speak, followed the next week by Jeff Longwell.

In his unscripted speech, Mayans was quick to point out that many of his accomplishments have depended on Democratic support.

For example, he recently told The Hall Monitor that many of Kansas' mayors are democrats, yet the League of Kansas Municipalities picked Mayans as their vice-president, which will put him in line to be president of the state's organization for cities.

That gives him some legislative pull -- on top of the access he already has. But, as someone pointed out at the Pachyderm Club, it doesn't always work.

LMK is pushing this year for protection of eminent domain rights, which allow government to take properties for economic development, a right supported by the much-publicized Kelo decision.

Mayans noted to the room of republicans, most of whom oppose eminent domain for economic development, that he isn't going to bat for that issue.

All told 14 of 26 -- or 54 percent -- of the city candidates are registered as republicans and eight are democrats. The rest either didn't vote in the primary or updated their address in the past three months.

Here's a breakdown of all the candidates and their registered political affiliation:

Sue Schlapp - R
Gordon Bakken - L
Fred Marrs - R
Elizabeth Bishop - D
David Grebenik - D
Jason Wenke - Unaffiliated
Michael O'Donnell II - NA
Paul Gray - R
Leslie Osterman - D
Virgil Marsolf - R
David Glover Jr. - D
Bryan Frye - R
Jeff Longwell - R
Patrick Quaney - D
David Dennis - R
Charles Thompson - R
Lowell Stukey - D
Marty Marshall - R
Paul Tobia - R
Darrell Leffew - R
King David Davis - R
Carl Brewer - D
Carlos Mayans - R
Larry White - R
Randy Pace - NA
James Mendenhall - D

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