KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The man behind Quinton Lucas’ successful run for mayor doesn't have plans to continue running political campaigns.
John Stamm oversaw Lucas’ mayoral campaign. As campaign manager, the 28-year-old had a direct hand in everything including fundraising, advertising, debate preparations and getting out the vote, among other responsibilities.
The role was a first for the UMKC graduate who majored in business and philosophy.
“I’m sure plenty of folks told [Quinton] to think twice and think really hard about someone who’s never run a campaign and trusting it to them, but I’m glad he did,” Stamm said. “I think it paid off.”
Stamm met Lucas during his first run for city council, about eight years ago. He worked as a volunteer on his campaign and the two remained in touch over the years.
“It was mostly through the personal relationship that was maintained [that landed me the job], and I think he knew I had the right skill set for this even if I didn’t have the points on the resume, experience-wise,” he said.
Stamm admits he struggled with establishing credibility in the political world, but he worked on building relationships and, more importantly, believed in his candidate’s vision for the city he too grew up in.
“I’m interested in when you’re in the position to influence policy and make changes that will affect people’s day to day lives, what can you do to make sure our progress is equally shared,” he said.
Stamm said the strategy for the campaign primarily focused on two things: a commitment to running a clean race and having a presence online.
He said the campaign never had plans to turn negative if their opponent decided to move in that direction.
“We thought, in the current national political environment, most people are becoming tired with negativity, and they didn’t want that at the local level,” Stamm explained. “We also thought we had an advantage on getting into details on the issues.”
They also invested more in reaching voters online.
“The digital was a completely different scale, and I think that allowed us to reach out to a lot of our undecided voters at the last minute,” Stamm said. “We put a lot into Google search at the last minute.”
Echoing his candidate, Stamm said Tuesday’s victory was possible because voters resonated with Lucas’ message, they canvassed for him and ultimately showed up at the polls on Election Day.
“The voting age is still much higher, but we had a lot of energy and commitment and buzz from our younger citizens,” he said. “A lot of the people showed up to volunteer for us because their friend knew Quinton or Quinton taught them at KU Law School and that energy carried into our campaign.”
Stamm was among several the people Lucas thanked Tuesday night during his victory speech.
“I want to make sure I mention a man who has believed in us every step of the way,” Lucas said to a roaring crowd of supporters Tuesday, “when we’ve had challenging days, when we’ve had long days. We’ve had many fights because he says he doesn’t quite understand how lawyers do things sometimes, and we’re the better for it. I want to say thank you to John Stamm, an outstanding campaign manager.”
Stamm believes his friendship with Lucas helped them “smooth over” their disagreements at time.
“The way we would process decisions and arrive at conclusions, from the outside, looked probably a lot more contentious than it was for either of us because that was our dynamic back and forth,” he said.
Looking ahead, Stamm said he doesn’t intend on running more political campaigns. Instead, his focus now is ensuring the incoming Lucas administration is ready to go by inauguration.
“I want to stay here and capitalize on all the work we did on this campaign and really make sure we see through those commitments we made,” he said.
Stamm will be apart of Lucas’ transition team. He said he would rather work under Lucas’ leadership.