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KCMO City Council incumbent Brandon Ellington appears vulnerable after Tuesday’s primary

Other incumbents fare well as general election field is set
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Posted at 11:50 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-05 00:50:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The field for the June general election that will set the next Kansas City, Missouri, City Council shrank Tuesday with the primary election.

New candidates will win six of the 12 seats, where the incumbent is term-limited, but the primary also revealed that one incumbent is shockingly vulnerable.

Brandon Ellington represents the 3rd District At-Large and is one of two candidates who filed, so he will advance to the general election.

But challenger Melissa Patterson Hazley, a KCMO native and college teacher, received 63% of the citywide vote, a significant stagger for Ellington to make up in the next two months if he’s going to retain the seat for another term.

The other five incumbents up for re-election cruised.

First District At-Large Councilman Kevin O’Neill (65%), 6th District At-Large Councilwoman Andrea Bough (61%), 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson (85%) and 4th District Councilman Eric Bunch (55%) easily advanced through the primary.

O’Neill will face Ronda Smith in the general election. Former Clay County Commissioner Pam Mason finished third in the primary and won’t appear on the ballot for the general election.

Bough will face Jill Sasse, who edged Mary Nestel for second in a contested race.

Robinson and Sheri Hall were the only candidates to file in the 3rd District, while Bunch will square off with Henry Rizzo in the general election. Crissy Dastrup failed to make it out of the primary.

Among the open seats, former Jackson County Legislator Theresa Cass Galvin, who unsuccessfully challenged Frank White Jr. for the county executive job, finished third in the 5th District At-Large race.

Darrell Curls, a former Hickman Mills School Board member, received 36% of the vote and Michael Kelley, the policy director at BikeWalkKC, received 34% to advance to the general election, while Cass Galvin received only 31% of the vote.

Lee Barnes Jr. has served the previous two terms.

Another former Jackson County legislator, Dan Tarwater, had better luck.

He and Crispin Rea emerged as the front-runners from crowded fields in separate district races ahead of the general election.

Tarwater received 46% of the vote in the 6th District race, topping the field of five candidates in his quest for the seat currently occupied by Kevin McManus.

Jonathan Duncan received 24% of the vote and also advanced to the general election.

Rea, who received 36% of the vote to win the five-candidate 4th District At-Large primary, will square off with Justin Short, who received 21% of the vote, in the general election for the seat vacated by Katheryn Shields.

The 2nd District At-Large will pit Lindsay French, who received 47% of the vote, against Jenay Manley (34%) after the pair emerged from a three-candidate primary to replace Teresa Loar.

Nathan Willett and Chris Gahagan both advanced from the 1st District primary to replace Heather Hall, but Willett had a stronger showing winning 68% of the vote.

Fifth District incumbent Ryana Parks-Shaw and 2nd District newcomer Wes Rogers, a former state legislator, are unchallenged in their races. Rogers will replace Dan Fowler on the City Council.

Affordable housing, violent crime, rebuilding trust in KCPD and replinmishing its ranks, overseeing the Kansas City Royals' planned move downtown, and preparing for the 2026 FIFA World Cup are among the bigger issues and challenges awaiting the next City Council.