Incumbent Mark Holland and challenger David Alvey will square off in the mayoral race for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., after emerging as the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary election.
In complete but unofficial returns, Holland, with 40 percent of the vote, advanced to the November general election in search of his second term as the Unified Government’s mayor. Holland previously served two terms as an at-large commissioner, starting in 2007.
Voters moved Holland into the mayor’s office in 2013 after a hotly contested race against Ann Brandau-Murguia. Holland that year had the help of endorsements from mayoral predecessors Carol Marinovich and Joe Reardon.
Holland in his first term has touted, among other things, major economic development projects and the payoff of debt at Village West, which translated into small property tax reductions in the Unified Government budget this year and last.
Holland will face a general election challenge from Alvey, who hails from a well-known Wyandotte County family. Alvey, a dean at Rockhurst High School, currently holds a spot on the Board of Public Utilities.
Alvey had 32 percent of the vote.
Alvey this campaign season has been critical of some of Holland’s mayoral policies. Alvey said the Unified Government has not done enough to help residents with Kansas City, Kan.’s property tax rate, which is easily the highest in the Kansas side of the metro region.
Also on the ballot were state Sen. David Haley, with 18 percent, Janice Grant Witt, with 7 percent, and D. Keith Jordan, with 2 percent.
There were three competitive Unified Government Commission primaries Tuesday.
District 8: Incumbent Jane Philbrook and Kendon McClaine advanced to the general election. Philbrook had nearly 56 percent of the vote, while McClaine had 30 percent. Brad Isnard, with 15 percent, was knocked out. District 8 covers north-central Kansas City, Kan.
District 7: Incumbent Jim Walters will face George Cooper in the general election. Walters won 47 percent of the vote and Cooper 28 percent. Jim Gibson finished third with 25 percent. The district covers southwestern Kansas City, Kan., and includes Edwardsville and Bonner Springs.
District 5: Incumbent Mike Kane and Sarah Kremer were the top vote-getters in the three-way primary in northwest Kansas City, Kan. Kane had 59 percent and Kremer 30 percent. John Fotovich is out after finishing last.
Two Unified Government districts up for election this year did not draw enough candidates for a primary election. In District 1, which covers northeast Kansas City, Kan., incumbent Gayle Townsend will face Victor Harris in November. In the 2nd District at-large seat, Tom Burroughs, a Kansas House representative, will face Kansas City, Kan., Community College chairman J.D. Rios.
In the Wyandotte County sheriff’s race, incumbent Donald Ash and Celisha Towers made it out of a five-way primary. Ash had 50 percent of the vote and Towers 22 percent.
Incumbent Mary Gonzales and challenger Bryan Messmer were the top vote-getters in a four-way primary in the Board of Public Utilities Position No. 1 at-large race. Gonzales had 49 percent of the vote and Messmer 17.3 percent. Just 16 votes behind Messmer was Kevin Braun, with 17.1 percent. Nikole C. Owens had 16 percent.