KCMO June 20 election guide: Hear from candidates for city council, mayor

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Jun 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-20 08:53:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, voters will elect a mayor and 12-member City Council during an election next Tuesday.

The 13 races, including six at-large and six in-district City Council races, are on the ballot along with one KCPS school board race and some questions about retaining judges.

The whole city votes on at-large races unlike the in-district races, so each voter can cast a ballot for seven council members and the mayor.

RELATED | Clay County voting information
RELATED | Platte County voting information

The winners will be sworn into office in August and oversee a transformative time in Kansas City, which will include the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the Kansas City Royals’ plan to leave Kauffman Stadium among other issues.

Policing, violent crime, basic city services, infrastructure, affordable housing and tax incentives are among other pressing issues for KCMO.

KSHB 41 Digital In-Depth Reporter Tod Palmer offered all 24 candidates on the ballot multiple opportunities to fill out a questionnaire as well as sit down for an interview. Twenty-three of the candidates completed the survey or granted an interview, while 15 candidates participated in both.

Those survey responses and interviews are cataloged below as an election resource for prospective voters.

Early voting started June 6 and remains an option through Monday. Check the KCMO Election Board for more information, including poll times and locations.

Incumbent Mayor Quinton Lucas — who was elected to his first term four years ago and only drew one challenger, Clay Chastain, for his re-election bid — remains popular as evidenced by his easy win in the April 4 primary.

Primary results:

  • Quinton Lucas, 81%
  • Clay Chastain, 19%

Neither candidate filled out a questionnaire ahead of next week’s election, but both did grant interviews.
WATCH | Hear from Clay Chastain and Quinton Lucas


Incumbent Kevin O’Neill received massive support in the three-candidate primary, but challenger Ronda Smith’s campaign has resonated in the Northland.

Still, she faces an uphill climb to unseat O’Neill in a citywide race.

Primary results:

  • Kevin O’Neill, 65%
  • Ronda Smith, 20%
  • Pam Mason, 15%

O’Neill and Smith filled out the survey ahead of the primary and participated in interviews.

WATCH | Hear from Kevin O’Neill and Ronda Smith


Lindsay French and Jenay Manley emerged from a three-candidate primary in the race to replace outgoing Councilwoman Teresa Loar, who is term-limited.

Primary results:

  • Lindsay French, 47%
  • Jenay Manley, 34%
  • Mickey Younghanz, 18% 

French and Manley both filled out the survey and granted interviews.

WATCH | Hear from Lindsay French and Jenay Manley



Based on the primary results, a head-to-head race between current councilman Brandon Ellington and challenger Melissa Patterson Hazley, Ellington appears to be the most vulnerable incumbent on the current City Council.

Primary results:

  • Melissa Patterson Hazley, 63%
  • Brandon Ellington, 37%

Patterson Hazley responded to the survey before the primary and both candidates sat down for interviews.

WATCH | Hear from Brandon Ellington and Melissa Patterson Hazley



The 4th District At-Large primary featured five candidates with Crispin Rea and Justin Short advancing to Tuesday’s general election.

The voters who supported the three candidates who were trimmed from the race during the primary could sway the general election, which guarantees a seat goes to a candidate from an historically underrepresented group.

Rea would be the first Latino elected to City Council in nearly 30 years, while Short would be the first openly gay man elected to the City Council.

Incumbent Katheryn Shields is term-limited, creating the vacancy.

Primary results:

  • Crispin Rea, 36%
  • Justin Short, 21%
  • Grace Cabrera, 16%
  • Jess Blubaugh, 14%
  • John DiCapo, 13%

Both candidates filled out surveys and sat down for interviews.

WATCH | Hear from Crispin Rea and Justin Short



The 5th district At-Large primary race was most tightly contested across the city with Darrell Curls and Michael Kelley advancing and former Jackson County legislator Theresa Cass Galvin falling short.

Whoever turns out voters best between Curls and Kelley will have earned their council seat in a slugfest to replace term-limited incumbent Lee Barnes Jr.

Primary results

  • Darrell Curls, 36%
  • Michael Kelley 34%
  • Theresa Cass Galvin, 31%

Both candidates filled out surveys before the primary, but only Kelley granted KSHB 41 an interview.

WATCH | Hear from Michael Kelley



Incumbent Andrea Bough won the primary handily, but challenger Jill Sasse hopes to court the 17% of voters who supported a third candidate in April and chip away at Bough’s base in the general election.

Primary results:

  • Andrea Bough, 61%
  • Jill Sasse, 21%
  • Mary Nestel, 17%

Only Bough filled out the candidate survey, but both candidates sat down for interviews.

WATCH | Hear from Andrea Bough and Jill Sasse



Incumbent Heather Hall is term-limited, but she threw her support behind Nathan Willett, who won the primary by a wide margin. Chris Gahagan hopes for a surprise showing Tuesday evening.

Primary results:

  • Nathan Willett, 68%
  • Chris Gahagan, 32%

Both candidates filled out our candidate questionnaire, but only Gahagan agreed to an interview.

WATCH | Hear from Chris Gahagan



Former Missouri state legislator Wes Rogers is running unopposed in the new 2nd District, which includes the southern half of KCMO in the Northland.

He will replace incumbent Dan Fowler.

Despite not having a challenger, Rogers answered our survey and sat down for an interview.

WATCH | Hear from Wes Rogers



Incumbent Melissa Robinson showed very well in the two-candidate primary, leaving challenger Sheri Purpose Hall with a significant gap to close ahead of the general.

Primary results:

  • Melissa Robinson, 85%
  • Sheri Hall, 15%

Both candidates filled out the questionnaire and agreed to interview.

WATCH | Hear from Sheri Hall and Melissa Robinson



Incumbent Eric Bunch had a strong showing in a three-candidate primary that included his former legislative aide, who came up short with Henry Rizzo emerging as the challenger in the general election.

Primary results:

  • Eric Bunch, 55%
  • Henry Rizzo, 25%
  • Crissy Dastrup, 20%

Rizzo completed the candidate survey while Bunch sat down for an interview with KSHB 41.

WATCH | Hear from Eric Bunch



Ryana Parks-Shaw is running unopposed in her re-election. She did not fill out the survey or sit down for an interview.



The 6th District race was one of the city’s most crowded primaries with five candidates.

Long-time Jackson County legislator Dan Tarwater III and Johnathan Duncan, a community organizer and deputy director at the VFW Headquarters, emerged from the fray and will square off in the general election.

Primary results:

  • Dan Tarwater III, 46%
  • Jonathan Duncan, 24%
  • Tiffany Moore, 12%
  • Cecelia Carter, 12%
  • Michael Schuckman, 6%

Tarwater and Duncan both completed the questionnaire and sat down for interviews.

WATCH | Hear from Johnathan Duncan and Dan Tarwater III

New City Council district map, effective Aug. 1, 2023:

KCMO City Council district map
New Kansas City, Missouri, City Council map (effective Aug. 1, 2023)