By Tyler Schneider
Kansas City’s voter turnout hovered just below 14% on April 4, 2023, a notable decrease from recent years. The Kansas City City Council races in The Telegraph’s coverage area saw their fields narrowed to two candidates each who will advance to compete for the final prize in the June 20 General Municipal Election. Meanwhile, voters in Jackson County, Kansas City, Grandview, and Belton approved 3% Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax measures. Kansas Citians approved a pair of fees aimed at short-term rental services, and a handful of school boards saw some tightly contested races.
Here is a quick recap of Telegraph area candidates and outcomes:
Kansas City Mayor:
Incumbent Quinton Lucas drew 81.5% (35,351 votes) to perennial candidate Clay Chastain’s 18.5% (8,026). With just two candidates, both will advance to the June 20 general election.
FOR CITY COUNCIL:
Every single city council seat is up for grabs in Kansas City, Missouri. In these primary races, the top two finishers will advance to compete for their respective seats on June 20.
Running unopposed, incumbent Ryana Parks-Shaw still had 5,542 voters check her name in her reelection bid. A former healthcare executive, Parks-Shaw has served the 5th District since 2019.
Former Jackson County Legislator Dan Tarwater took 45.54% (5,297 votes) to win a five-way race over veteran and KC Tenants Power sponsored runner-up Jonathan Duncan (24%, 2,799), Neighborhood Advisory Council appointee Tiffany Moore (12.5%, 1,448), public retirement fund specialist Cecelia Carter (11.6%, 1,346), and KC Water Department employee and LGBTQ activist Michael Schuckman (6.38%, 742). Tarwater and Duncan will now face each other in the general election.
1st District At-Large:
Incumbent Kevin O’Neill toppled the rest of the field with 65.54% (27,254 votes) and insurance agent Ronda Smith nabbed 20.34% (8,591 votes) to advance to the general election against the former on June 20. Pam Mason 15% (6,383 votes) finished a distant third.
2nd District At-Large:
Lindsay French (47.12%, 19,523 votes), a graphic designer and communications specialist and the Chair of the Planning and Development Committee for the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, came out on top ahead of fellow challenger and KC Tenants candidate Jenay Manley (34.42%, 14,260 votes), and Mickey Younghanz 18.46% (7,647 votes)
French and Manley will face off in the general election in their efforts to succeed second-term incumbent Teresa Loar, who did not seek reelection.
3rd District At-Large:
Upstart candidate Melissa Patterson Hazley (62.69%, 25,134 votes), an educational psychologist and researcher at UMKC, blew first-term incumbent and former state representative Brandon R. Ellington (37.31%, 14,961 votes) out of the water in the court of popular opinion in a possible sign of what is to come in their June 20 rematch.
4th District At-Large:
Lawyer and seven-year Jackson County special victims unit prosecutor Crispin Rea reeled in 36.16% (15,219 votes) to best former cruise ship entertainer and Lucas’ appointed LGBTQ Commission member Justin Short’s 21.46% (9,033 votes). The pair finished ahead of a crowded five-person race to see who will succeed two-time incumbent Katheryn Shields. Both will advance to the general election.
Rounding out the results were Cuban-American activist, Grace Cabrera (16.3%, 6,860 votes), United Way of Greater Kansas City’s chief philanthropy officer, Jess Blubaugh (13.54%, 5,700 votes), and pizza mogul John DiCapo (12.53%, 5,272 votes).
5th District At-Large:
Both will advance to the general election ballot, while, somewhat surprisingly, former county legislator Theresa Cass Galvin (30.75%, 12,846 votes) finished out of the running despite having given Jackson County Administrator Frank White a run for his money back in November.
6th District At-Large:
Incumbent Andrea Bough nabbed 61.39% (25,550 votes) and former public school educator Jill Sasse took another 21.43% (8,902 votes) en route to earning the right to compete for this seat in the general election. Insurance company owner Mary Nestel (17.18%, 7,136 votes) tallied up for third.
A four-way race for three three-year terms had to end with one qualified candidate finishing out of the running, but this one was especially close. Incumbent Irene Kendrick (26.79%, 1,595) edged out a successful bid from newcomer Brandon Wright (26.35%, 1,569) in the first two spots.
For the final seat, longtime incumbent Byron Townsend (24.2%, 1,441) narrowly defended his position over former board vice-president and current board appointed fill-in since February, Clifford Ragan II (22.66%, 1,349).
The South Kansas City school board races both proved to be tightly contested affairs, with Stacy Wright (25.31%, 1,450 votes), board president Monica Terry (24.91%, 1,427), and Damon Greene (19.18%, 1,099) all set to retain their seats on Grandview C-4’s Board of Directors for another three years.
Patricia Smith made a hard charge at overcoming Greene who has been an incumbent since 2020, finishing just 60 votes shy at 18.14%, while John Mark Bell (12.46%, 714) also drew more than ten percent of the tallies.
Grandview Alderman Ward 1:
In a race between a pair of new faces, Dale Wayne Taylor pulled 64% (or just 282 votes) over Steven Ballentine’s 35% (153 votes) and six write-ins. Taylor will replace incumbent Damon Randolph, who did not seek reelection, and serves alongside Alderwoman Debbie Bibbs in representing Ward 1.
Grandview Alderman Ward 2:
A close race between the current and a former incumbent was won by Dan Hartman with 56.5% (248 votes) over former state representative Annette Turnbaugh 43% (189 votes) and a pair of write-in votes. Hartman will serve another term alongside fellow Ward 2 Alderman, Joe Runions.
Grandview Alderman Ward 3:
Uncontested incumbent John T. Maloney nabbed 392 votes ahead of eight write-ins to retain his seat. He will rejoin Thomas Rousey in representing Ward 3.
Grandview Mayor & Municipal Judge:
Reigning incumbent Leonard Jones Jr. earned 95.56% of the vote with 1,184 total ahead of 55 write-in choices. Municipal judge Ronald E. Johnson will also return after 1,089 voters gave him the nod against just eight write-in ballots.
3% Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax:
Kansas City residents led the area with 73.3% of voters (33,636 total) voting ‘yes’ on a municipal 3% Marijuana Tax versus 26.7% (12,271) ‘no’ votes.
In Jackson County, 67.46% (23,164 votes) approved, 32.54 (11,172) opposed.
In Grandview, 65.8%, or 914 voters, approved Grandview’s 3% Marijuana Tax, while 476 (34.2%) opposed the measure.
In Belton, 67.3%, or 560 voters, approved Belton’s 3% Marijuana Tax and 272 voters (32.7%) opposed it.
Kansas City Question 2:
“Shall the city impose a Transient Boarding & Accommodation Tax of 7.5% to all lodging establishments, including short-term rental?”
61.1%, or 27,891 voters, approved this measure, while 38.9% (17,769) cast ballots in opposition.
Kansas City Question 3:
“Shall the city impose a license fee for short-term rentals?”
Another question aimed at curbing an overwhelming influx of short-term rental units through services like AirBnB, this measure was approved by 58.2% of voters, or 26,643 total ballots, over 41.8% (19,103) voting against. This authorizes the city to raise its current daily fee on occupied rooms, including short term rentals, hotels, and motels, by as much as $1.50 per day.