Mike Pompeo endorses Josh Wells in Andover school board race

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 1:29 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Former Secretary of State, director of the CIA and U.S. Representative from Kansas Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that he is endorsing incumbent Josh Wells in the Andover school board election.

It’s a race drawing a lot of local and even national attention, making Pompeo’s endorsement one of the latest.

“I’ve worked closely with Josh and witnessed his character, integrity and commitment to excellence,” Pompeo wrote. “He is a husband, father of three and I am proud to support him in this election.”

Wells used to work with Pompeo as a campaign spokesperson.

Emporia State Professor of Political Science Dr. Michael Smith said this endorsement is different from the wave of other national endorsements in school board races across the county.

“Usually, when you see it today, it’s over hot button issues like the generally false allegation that critical race theory is being taught in K-12 schools. That doesn’t appear to be the case here,” said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith said relationships could matter for candidates like Wells in elevating their profile and positioning themselves for this race and the future.

“Wells campaign materials and it appears to be pretty straightforward supporting bond issues, pictures of the high school football team, emphasizing community ties, exactly what you would expect a school board candidate to do, and by the way, not a word about Critical Race Theory,” said Dr. Smith.

Wells is being opposed by Audra Bell.

Last week, Bell received an endorsement from Congressman Ron Estes, whose chief-of-staff is Bell’s brother-in-law.

Advance voting for the Nov. 2 general election began Thursday. The Andover BOE race is a motivator for many.

Voting early, Donna Payne said, “I couldn’t wait for this election. I have been more excited to vote.”

She said these endorsements haven’t been a factor for her, as she focuses on change.

“We went to our first school board meeting this year, we’ve never gone before and so I love to see parents getting involved and making choices for our kids,” Payne said.

A national PAC that opposes critical race theory also endorsed three candidates in the race, including Bell.

What impact the endorsements will have, that will have to wait until Tuesday night.

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