For the first time in more than a decade, Kansas City confronts the likelihood that the mayoral general election will lack minority representation.
Remember that Former Mayor Funkhouser won over longtime City Councilman Alvin Brooks and Mayor Sly James has dominated the Mayoral contest for the past two cycles.
Now, three solid candidates primarily representing Kansas City's African-American community are competing for the same votes and support in a crowded field.
A quick recap of their campaigns so far . . .
Councilman Jermaine Reed
It would be unwise to discount the half-pint urban core leader. Inasmuch as he has garnered fierce critics throughout the city, his supporters are equally enthusiastic and his fundraising efforts reveal a solid mid-rage level of support that's actually rather surprising. Moreover, mentors, benefactors and associates half always lifted Councilman Reed far above his skill level.
Council Lady Alissia Canady
With standing at the county, advanced degrees a cadre of influential urban core women who support her campaign . . . Council Lady Canady has more supporters than most pundits realize and matches her urban core colleagues in terms of enthusiasm if not outright political acumen.
Councilman Quinton Lucas
Of all the urban core candidates he's got the widest array of support citywide and the biggest bankroll but there is no question that a recent DUI bust cost him some support and tarnished his clean-cut image. And so with his advantage across the metro hindered, he's now competing for votes in the inner-city and that fight has become far more fierce among a field crowded with almost a dozen contenders, all of whom, hope to play to champion of the East Side to some extent.
Local media personality Rita Berry deserves some mention but her campaign remains a fledgling effort with little fundraising or endorsements . . . TKC broke news of her candidacy but she hasn't made much progress since that point.
Now . . .
This three way runoff represents the biggest dilemma for Councilman Lucas.
Here's the word from a longtime east side insider closely connected to ALL of these candidates . . .
"Councilman Lucas might be the odds-on favorite but he's got more competition than he expected. It's not fair but the DUI arrest has raised doubts about his appeal to voters. Meanwhile, we've all seen Council members Reed & Canady working harder and gaining more attention. They're going to give Councilman Lucas a run for his money and now he's fighting on two fronts rather than just trying to make his case citywide. The MLK rename issue is the perfect example of how he is being pulled in two different directions ... And the problem is that he might not be able to convince voters from either side in his attempt to please everybody ..."
And so, here's the sitch as it stands now . . .
For the last 3 cycles the East Side has earned representation from an African-American candidate but this time around competition, demographics and controversy threaten to split the vote and leave the cadre of qualified candidates fighting among each other in the primary.
Meanwhile, the local African-American community continues to branch out to the Southland, Raytown, Grandview, & Lee's Summit leaving traditional inner-city strongholds without the voting power that once defined the urban core.
More to the point . . .
While housing, development and crime will dominate the discourse in the upcoming KC Mayoral election . . . It's a conversation, many fear, that most likely will take place between two white candidates.
Developing . . .