Wichita Eagle endorsements out of step with Wichita


Yesterday’s primary election for Wichita city and school board races revealed a Wichita Eagle editorial board increasingly out of step with voters, who followed several of the board’s recommendations but also voted strongly against several Eagle-endorsed candidates. It’s not the first time this has happened.

The endorsements are not the Eagle’s prediction of who will win, but instead are “recommendations as information to consider as you make up your own minds about the candidates.”

For the race for Wichita mayor, voters strongly followed the Eagle’s endorsement of incumbent Carl Brewer. That contest attracted several challengers, but none with the stature to raise the money necessary to seriously challenge an incumbent in a city-wide election.

For city council district 2, the Eagle editorial board strongly endorsed Steve Harris, calling him “best choice by far.” Pete Meitzner was mentioned as a credible candidate. But the winner of the election was Charlie Stevens, who the Eagle dismissed as an also-ran. The Eagle’s recommended candidate Harris finished in third place behind Meitzner, although the margin is small at 1,302 votes to 1,292 votes.

For city council district 3, the editorial board recommended James Clendenin, and he won. Its second choice of Hoyt Hillman finished in third place behind Mark Geitzen, who will advance to the general election with Clendenin. Geitzen, too, was characterized by the Eagle as an also-ran.

In city council district 4, the Eagle named June Bailey the “standout candidate.” She finished in third place behind Joshua Blick and Michael O’Donnell, the latter placed by the Eagle in the also-ran category.

For the at-large seat for USD 259, the Wichita public school district, the Eagle recommend Sheril Logan, and she won.

A distinguishing feature of the candidates the Eagle endorsed for city offices is their support for government intervention in the local economy through the use of economic development incentives and outright subsidy. (But always to be used prudently, of course, with scrutiny and discretion.) In particular, district 2 council candidate Harris embraced government intervention and was endorsed by several of Wichita’s most prominent crony capitalists. Other candidates like Clendenin and Bailey look favorably on big government, too.

While Clendenin won in his district, voters preferred other candidates to Harris and Bailey. In particular, Stevens in district 2, Gietzen in district 3, and O’Donnell in district 4 have an explicit free-market perspective in their messages. The Wichita Eagle editorial board believes in all things opposite — crony capitalism, large-scale interventionism in the name of social engineering, and reliance on government rather than free people to solve problems and create prosperity — so it’s no surprise the names of these three candidates and their positions were buried. The Eagle’s political and economic preferences, however, are increasingly out of step with what Wichita voters want.


21 responses to “Wichita Eagle endorsements out of step with Wichita”

  1. Camarade C

    ;ooks as if an Eagle endorsement is the kiss of death/’loss. Why would any candidate want it. the eaaaaaaaagle does not get it..no wonder readeship is down..the Eaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagle is not in touch with its constituency and continues to flauntits bias every chance it gets. I am aware of several opinion pieces not published because they were against Eagle endorsements.

  2. Dakota

    I concur completely with the article’s assessment of Wichita Eagle being out of touch with Wichita’s Voters. In particular, I was elated to see some of the “good ol’boy” backed candidates fall short and was elated to see Charlie Stevens win his race in District 2. As a District 5 resident, I had no one to vote for but if council races were full city resident voter eligible, I would not have favored either Mark Geitzen or Mike O’Donnell; the former is an “insider” the latter too inexperienced in life to effectively do the job. As for Mr. Harris, the voters of his District sent a resounding message of no-confidence. Let’s hope Charlie Stevens carries it all on April 5th, 2011

  3. Ann H.

    I am thrilled to hear we’ll (probably) have Stevens and Meitzner in the general for district 2. How great that the two best candidates won (pending counting of provisional ballots).

  4. Anonymous

    Oh please. Bob’s “assessment” is nothing of the sort. The same voters who voted for the Mayor were voting for Gietzen, Stevens, and O’Donnell. Using the logic that this primary was somehow a statement that voters want Libertarians on city council, then Leffew should have received thousands more votes than he did.

    Simple minds come to simple conclusions. There are multiple factors that come into play during a primary race. To say that “Yesterday’s primary election for Wichita city and school board races revealed a Wichita Eagle editorial board increasingly out of step with voters, who followed several of the board’s recommendations but also voted strongly against several Eagle-endorsed candidates” would be laughable but instead is sadly pathetic.

    Not sure which is worse. The naive blogger or his equally naive minions.

  5. Anonymous

    The Eagle has a narrow outdated view of economics. Given all the money we’ve thrown the drain with little result, you think they would question doing the same old thing over and over again.

  6. BJ

    Just as Bob distorted Dale Dennis’ position on fund balances, now he is distorting the vote that happened on Tuesday. According to a Wichita Eagle editorial today, 7.7% of eligible voters voted in the primary. Quite a low turnout. Bob brushes aside the fact that Mayor Carl Brewer received 76% of the vote. According to Bob, the Eagle’s editorial endorsements are out of step with what Wichita voters want, yet the only candidate who the entire city could vote for won the primary. Bob, if you want to talk district-by-district that’s a different conversation, but to imply the entire city supports your position is very misleading when the Mayor received 76% of the vote.

    I’m also waiting for you to answer my question on why you distorted Dale Dennis’ position on fund balances. But I expect you to keep evading my question.

  7. Ruben

    The Wichita Eagle did not give the elections enough publicity because they realize that low voter turnout helps the incumbent (Mayor Brewer) and helps those with money and networks win with a few votes, but their strategy backfired. Look for the Eagle to now begin to vilify and disrespect the candidates that they don’t want. If Steven, Gietzen, O’Donnell, and Tyler win, Mayor Brewer will wish that he had lost the election. These new comers will oppose the “tax and spend” lame-duck administration of Mayor Brewer and his cronies.

  8. Anonymous

    “The Wichita Eagle did not give the elections enough publicity because they realize that low voter turnout helps the incumbent”

    Dude, put down the crack pipe and get some help.

  9. Tess

    It appears that the psychological profile of ANONYMOUS is that of a white women over 55; knowing enough about politics to be dangerous; angry and certainly associated with the leadership at City Hall.

  10. A Nony Moose

    Low voter turnout does favor the incumbent. Mayor Brewer will wish he had lost the election when the whole city council votes in opposition to his economically interventionist plans. Anonymous, if you are so freaking brilliant why don’t you give us your blog address so that we can be enlightened by your “informed” blog and equally “informed” followers.

  11. Anonymous

    I won’t claim I’m “freaking brilliant” but I’m not a moron with blinders either. Just an independent, pragmmatic thinker who understands social and political realities.

  12. BJ

    Well said Anonymous. Independent thinking is hard to find anymore. People are either radical right or radical left. Or they distort positions like Bob does and cannot simply admit they made a mistake when confronted with facts.

  13. Minarchist

    Plain and simple … Wichita Eagle is a McClatchy Company.

  14. Harry

    Anonymous don’t change your name to BJ to support your side of the argument. You have not been called a moron with blinders, but some people know enough to be dangerous and a college degree doesn’t mean that you are not smart……just look at Mayor Brewer, with his high school degree from North High, the media has never stopped calling him smart, wise, and one who brings people together with his leadership ability.

  15. Anonymous

    @Harry. I would agree that higher education doesn’t necessarily make one smarter just as being uneducated doesn’t mean one is ignorant. I’ve met alot of smart people who didn’t have college degrees and college-degreed people who weren’t very smart at all.

    And, no, not BJ.

  16. ictator

    How do you describe McClatchy’s viewpoint, the parent company of the eagle? Ideologically, it is liberal or big govt.

    To avoid being irrelevant in Wichita, the eagle has dropped endorsing in presidential races. Remember, in 1988, the eagle endorsed Dukakis.

    Other McClatchy papers, like their ones in CA, are even further left and continue to endorse any and all leftists seeking public office.

  17. Anonymous Mike


    “just look at Mayor Brewer, with his high school degree from North High, the media has never stopped calling him smart, wise, and one who brings people together with his leadership ability.”

    I’ve talked to the Mayor, he has the ability to agree with anyone he talks to, then he walks off and talks to someone else, but he votes his paycheck. He’s like our Congress and Obama, he’ll give anyone an exemption for the right $ / support whatever.


  18. Roman

    Mayor Brewer has ruled for 4 years over the worse economy Wichita has ever had. If he was the CEO of any corporation he would have been fired already, but he will be re-elected to a lame-duck term for another 4 years…..Recall ideas!

  19. Forrest

    @Roman. Oh for the love of the Lord, you can’t be serious making a statement like that. Our Mayor has any control over the economy of this country and world???? Furthermore, the vast majority of kool-aid drinkers on this board want NO government in free enterprise.

    So which is it? Mayor to stay out of free enterprise or do you want the Mayor to be responsible for the economic well-being of your livelihood????

    “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  20. Roman

    Forrest, that sounds logical. Mayor Brewer making close to $90,000 annually and accountable for nothing but credited with a few stupid projects and providing incentives to his friends to create jobs. Don’t tell me that his campaign literature doesn’t claim that he is going to create jobs….so is he responsible or not? Are his campaign promises any good or just lies? In 2007, I have a copy of his campaign literature in which he promised to create thousands of jobs; provide internet across the City; combat crime, etc. When he took over in 2007, the unemployment rate was under 4% and now is 9%. If he doesn’t want the criticism tell him to stop taking credit for stuff that “he has no control over”

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