Kansas City Voters Send Justus And Lucas To Mayoral Election, Narrow City Council Finalists
The next mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, will be either Jolie Justus or Quinton Lucas.
Out of 11 candidates, those two garnered enough votes Tuesday to advance to the June 18 general election. The final unofficial totals had Justus with 11,926 votes and Lucas with 9,820. Mayor Sly James is term-limited and cannot run again.
Justus took a winding path to the general election. She is finishing her first term on the city council, representing the 4th District. As a councilmember, she led the airport committee through complicated negotiations with Edgemoor, the developer of the new, single KCI terminal on which ground was broken last week.
"Today, we celebrate," Justus told supporters who gathered with her Tuesday night. "Tomorrow, we get up, we roll up our sleeves and we get back to work."
Justus initially entered the race last year, but withdrew after former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced he was running in June. After Kander's surprise withdrawal in early October, Justus re-entered the race and became the election’s biggest fundraiser. James’ preferred successor, Justus also served eight years as a state senator and is director of pro bono services at the Shook, Hardy & Bacon law firm.
Justus also said during her watch party that she had walked the entire length of the city campaigning.
"And as we walked, we saw the things that the city's doing right, and we saw a lot of problems that we still need to work on," she said. "And if we work together, we can solve those problems."
Lucas is a city councilmember in his first term, representing the 3rd District in the east part of the city.
As a councilmember, Lucas sponsored an ordinance that caps tax incentives for developers, with exemptions for distressed areas determined by the city. He has also been behind the efforts to create more affordable housing in Kansas City — an issue at the center of his mayoral campaign.
"I always felt confident about the race that we had run. I thought that this whole city would respect the message that we said, which talked about shared success, equitable development in Kansas City," Lucas said at his watch party, adding, "I'm proud of the fact that we get to share that message for another 11 weeks."
Lucas, who is a private attorney and teaches at the University of Kansas School of Law, also said that he plans on taking that message all over town.
"(We're) going to make sure no matter the part of the city, east side or west side, northland or South Kansas City, we're making sure everybody gets to hear it," he said.
City Council finalists decided
Voters also narrowed down candidates for Kansas City’s Council during Tuesday’s primary election.
While three incumbent councilmembers ran unopposed, half of the current council was vying to become mayor, so there’ll be a lot of new faces on the next one.
Heather Hall, Teresa Loar and Kevin McManus will keep their seats in the 1st, 2nd at-large, and 6th Districts, respectively. Kevin O’Neill ran unopposed in the 1st District at-large.
In the 2nd District, incumbent Dan Fowler will face Kevin McEvoy in the June general election. Fowler served on the airport committee and voted in favor of an agreement with the new terminal developer. On his campaign website, McEvoy listed his most important issues as proper oversight of government spending and more transparency in awarding city contracts.
Democratic State Rep. Brandon Ellington and the Rev. Wallace Hartsfield II will be on the ballot for the 3rd District at-large seat.
Ellington recently introduced legislation in the Missouri House to criminalize police shootings of people with their hands up, a reference to Michael Brown, who was fatally shot in Ferguson five years ago. Hartsfield is the pastor at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and has worked on civil rights issues.
In the crowded field for the 3rd District seat, Joseph “Joey Cuts” Thomas and Melissa Robinson advanced to the general election.
Thomas owns a barber shop in the 18th and Vine district and runs Fresh Cut Fresh Start, which gives free haircuts to boys starting school and collects school supplies to donate.
Robinson has served on the Kansas City Public School Board and served as the Director of Crisis Intervention for the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime.
Incumbent councilwoman Katheryn Shields will face Robert Westfall to keep her 4th District at-large seat.
Shields previously was a city councilmember from 1987 to 1994 and served three terms as Jackson County Executive. Westfall is a longtime Kansas City resident who overcame alcohol abuse to seek a life in public policy.
Eric Bunch and Geoff Jolley will face off in June for the 4th District seat. Bunch leads a nonprofit dedicated to pedestrian and bicyclists in Kansas City. Jolley is a firefighter and former aide to Democratic U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
Lee Barnes currently holds the 5th District at-large seat, and will face Dwayne Williams, president of the Twelfth Street Development Corporation. Williams beat Erik Dickinson by about 200 votes.
Ryana Parks Shaw, the director at Mosaic Life Care, will square off against Edward Bell II for the 5th District seat. Bell has represented the 5th District on the Public Improvement Advisory Committee.
Andrea Bough and Stacey Johnson-Cosby will face off in June for the 6th District at-large seat. Bough is a member at Lewis Rice Law Firm, where she focuses on real estate and land use law. Johnson-Cosby is a real estate agent with ReeceNichols. She was a founder of the South Kansas City Alliance, and serves on the Public Improvement Advisory Committee for the 6th District.
This story has been corrected to show that Wallace Hartsfield II ran for office, not his father, and that Stacey Johnson-Cosby is a real estate agent and founded the South Kansas City Alliance, though she is no longer with the organization. A typo regarding the years Katheryn Shields previously served on the city council was also corrected.
KCUR's Samuel King contributed to this report.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.