Pair of former Wichita mayors support write-in candidate in mayoral election

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) A Wichita businessman who lost in the 2019 primary election for mayor may have found a way to get his name back on the ballot - through voters.

Dave Phillips, the marketing coordinator for Lyndy Wells, says the candidate is exploring the possibility of a write-in campaign for November's mayoral election.

Phillips says two former Wichita mayors - Carl Brewer and Bob Knight - are encouraging Wells to run as a write-in candidate.

Brewer and Knight will appear in advertisements starting Thursday.

Wells lost by 200 votes in August's primary election, where incumbent Jeff Longwell and challenger Brandon Whipple advanced.

"Who do we vote for? We don't like either one," Brewer says. "You have individuals... what are we going to do? Everyone is really concerned about the future of Wichita."

Brewer and Knight express concern with the recent report accusing Longwell steering a contract for the city's new water-treatment facility to friends.
"Given the circumstances that we know today that we didn't know then, I think Lyndy wins, hands down," Brewer says.

Historically, a third candidate entering the race will split the vote and can help the frontrunner.

Friends University Political Science Professor, Dr. Russell Arben Fox says it's unclear which candidate -- Longwell or Whipple -- is the underdog.

"Recently, the news cycle has been really bad for the mayor," he says. "It's unclear how this will play out."

Ahead of the Nov. 5 general election, Whipple says he plans "to stay focused on my positive vision for the future of Wichita."

Eyewitness News also reached out to Longwell Wednesday, but so far, haven't heard back.