Kansas City Mayor Sly James is rolling toward his second term without the pesky problems of having to raise boatloads of money or often debate his opponents.
The mayor’s victory tour makes a pit stop Tuesday at the League of Women Voters Mayoral Candidate Forum. The event starts at 7 p.m. at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut St.
Sure, it would be great for the public (and the media) if this campaign were more interesting and if more issues were being discussed before the April 7 primary.
The future of Kansas City is at stake every four years during contests for mayor and the 12 City Council seats.
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But this time around, James is facing the weakest mayoral field I’ve seen in covering local politics for more than 27 years.
One challenger is Clay Chastain, who hasn’t lived in the city for many years. He’s best known for passing around petitions to get poorly conceived light-rail projects on the ballot. Voters have passed only one of them; the City Council later annulled that election.
The other challenger is Vincent Lee, a political unknown who refused The Star’s request for an interview. So much for being a serious candidate.
James is pushing his candidacy by saying he’s going to ramp up efforts to improve education, public safety and job growth in his second term.
All are valuable efforts. But let’s face it: He’s not getting much attention these days because most people — if they are even interested in city politics — are waiting to see which council candidates emerge from the primaries for the June 23 general election.
In fact, James won’t “win” the mayor’s race next month. Based on name recognition, Chastain likely will finish second in the primary, meaning he will still be on the ballot in June.
That doesn’t mean the mayor will have to seriously debate his remaining opponent much before that date. In fact, based on the past few months, James likely won’t see his challenger except at an occasional forum or two.
And so goes the weird 2015 mayoral election.