4Star Politics: Breaking down 2 key mayors races in Kansas

4Star Politics

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Voters in Johnson and Wyandotte counties have some important issues to decide when they head to the polls on Nov. 2.

FOX 4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling aren’t the only ones keeping watch on the political landscape and how the upcoming election may be decided on several key issues. Kyle Palmer with the Shawnee Mission Post and Mike Taylor, former Director of Public Relations for the Unified Government joined them on this edition of 4Star Politics.

In Overland Park, either Mike Czinege or Curt Skoog will become the next mayor of the city. For the first time since 2005, Carl Gerlich’s name will not be on the ballot.

“To have a competitive, open mayoral contest in Overland Park is unusual,” Palmer said. “The nature of this race, the dynamics and tenor of it have become partisan in recent weeks and it’s really turned into a referendum I think on the identity of Overland Park, what the city has been over the last quarter century or so and what it will be going forward.”

Mike Czinege is a political newcomer and retired business executive. He has campaigned on issues related to crime and a skepticism of tax incentives and big apartment complexes.

Curt Skoog has been a member of Overland Park’s city council for 16 years. He is endorsed by Mayor Gerlach and former Mayor Ed Eilert. Skoog has tied himself closely to current city policies and other decisions that he believes has allowed the city to grow during his time on the council.

Other elections in Johnson County include several school board races. In the past they haven’t necessarily been top of mind for voters, but that’s changed. The school board races may also impact Overland Park’s mayoral contest.

“You do have two big school districts in Overland Park, Shawnee Mission, which is on the north side and Blue Valley which is on the south side. Both of those districts have extremely intense, contentious school board contests with multiple seats on the line. That could very well be a driver of turnout,” Palmer said.

Location will also be a driver in Wyandotte County, this time with the suburbs in place to possibly play spoiler. Incumbent David Alvey is fighting Tyrone Garner for the Mayor of KCK/Unified Government CEO office.

“I think Garner will win the Argentine and the Central Avenue corridor pretty heavily. I think he’ll win the northeast. I think midtown will maybe split and I think the real concern is where does the Piper area go,” Taylor said. “Let’s not forget that Bonner Springs and Edwardsville will also get to vote in this because, while they have their own mayors and councils, he is also the county executive, the mayor’s position.”

The election is scheduled to take place on Nov. 2. You can watch the entire analysis of races in both Overland Park and Wyandotte County in the above video player.

FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

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