Candidates Justus, Lucas go toe-to-toe on trustworthiness in debate for KC mayor
Less than a week out from a highly competitive election for Kansas City’s next mayor, one candidate still has significant sums of money to burn.
Councilman Quinton Lucas, 3rd District at-large, raised $251,582 between May 5 and June 6, according to a report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. In the same period, his opponent, Councilwoman Jolie Justus, 4th District, raised one and a half times as much, clocking in at $383,793.86.
But Lucas has been holding onto his cash. He spent just over $83,688.11 in that period to Justus’ $482,414.37.
For the last five days of the campaign, he has $341,235.25 left to spend to her $153,264.50. While Justus is likely to continue collecting money down the stretch, she’ll have to bring in quite a bit if she wants to catch up.
The spending patterns mark an apparent difference in campaign strategies. Justus, who has had a fundraising advantage throughout the primary and general election campaigns, started spending much sooner, sending direct mail, airing TV ads and rolling out a field canvass operation.
Lucas, by contrast, may be planning a late spending blitz. Records made public by the Federal Communications Commission show he purchased air time on KMBC after the campaign finance reporting period closed.
His report primarily reflected spending on campaign workers.
Both candidates have spent on consulting services.
Justus and Lucas’ reports both reflect a mix of small-dollar individual donations and larger gifts from large Kansas City companies and the real estate and development industry.
Both received maximum donations allowed under law ($3,325) from Cerner co-founder Cliff Illig, law firm Husch Blackwell and the Downtown Council Political Action Committee. Each collected contributions from numerous attorneys at Polsinelli, a top Kansas City firm active in land use matters. Lucas received $8,525; Justus, $9,025.
Justus’ report also lists several high-profile Kansas City donors, including developer and philanthropist Shirley Helzberg, Tom’s Town owner David Epstein and Hallmark CEO Donald Hall. Several local labor unions the the Greater Kansas City Building & Construction Trades Council maxed out for Justus.
Lucas and Justus have also both benefited from major outside spending in the waning days of the campaign.
According to state filings, Taxpayers Unlimited, a politcal action committee associated with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 42, which endorsed Lucas, spent $67,151.48 to support him between May 5 and June 6.
Since then, the group has spent another $90,400.
Freedom, Inc., which is also backing Lucas, spent $1,625.76 on his behalf in that time.
Southland Progress has spent just over $1,200 for him.
Justus has the St. Louis Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council in her corner, and its affiliated PAC, Carpenters Help in the Political Process, spent $90,258.15 supporting in the first quarter.
She’s also received $92,718.94 in support since late May from the City of Fountains Committee, which is funded primarily by Kevin Westrope and Jason Holmes, both entrepreneurs; Kansas City Live, LLC, a group associated with Power & Light District developer Cordish Companies; the carpenters’ PAC; Herzog Contracting Corp and LGBTQ Victory Fund.