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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kansas City Elections Round 1

Well the primary results were no surprise to me - my prediction was Mike Burke and Sly James all along for Mayor in the General Election. All those who actually thought Rowland or Herman could win were just wishful thinking. Some thought the incumbent Mayor Funkie would split the field and sneak into the runoff. I think the Anybody But Funk sentiment was so strong that people voted smartly and picked winners to ensure a Funk defeat.

The fact that KC may see its second African-American Mayor if James is elected is a very important political issue. KC is typically viewed as being uber-divided and segregated - yet James ran a great race (albeit with dismal turnout levels). He also won without the endorsement of any of the African-American political groups. I'm anxious to see the precinct votes to see how he did on the Eastside. Mike Burke was the only candidate to have 2 campaign offices - one on the westside and one on the eastside. Anxious to see if that made any difference in terms of votes.

The most interesting race was 3rd District at-large. The white candidate, Durwin Rice, was counting on his city-wide recognition as a good citizen (which he is) and his Tulips on Troost fame to garner him enough votes to overcome the resistance he would have from voters who actually live in the 3rd District. I have to say that I believed white voters in KC would vote for him and put him through to the General Election. He failed. Ellington and incumbent Curls will face off in March. I really thought that if given a choice, KC white voters would vote for Durwin over the two black candidates. Glad I was wrong. And it looks as if the same number of votes were cast for the 3rd at-large as the other at-large races, meaning voters did not just skip over the 3rd district race. I hope that Durwin Rice will continue living in the 3rd and be an active resident. The 3rd needs all the allies it can get and he would be a great one. Welcome, neighbor.

The General Election races in the 3rd and the 5th districts at large and the 3rd in district will ensure that 3 African-Americans get elected to council. Unfortunately, there will not be any Hispanic reps on council. This continues to be a difficult issue. The Hispanic political clubs backed the same losing mayoral candidate that the African-American political club backed. Looks like cash did not translate to votes in that race and that will definitely diminish their political clout. There is definitely political room for new groups to step up and represent. Should be interesting to see how the remaining candidates court the Hispanic vote and whether they go for endorsements.

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