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Supporters Encouraging Lyndy Wells To Enter Mayor's Race As Write-in Candidate

Kevin Benavides
KMUW/File photo

Supporters of Lyndy Wells are encouraging the Wichita businessman to campaign as a write-in candidate in next month's mayoral election.

Jon Rolph, president and CEO of Thrive Restaurant Group, says he is financing a media blitz to convince people to back Wells’ write-in bid. It includes a commercial with former mayors Bob Knight and Carl Brewer, who are both endorsing Wells.

Rolph says he talked with Wells over the weekend and that Wells is contemplating whether to re-enter the race. Rolph says he expects a decision this week.

The election is not until Nov. 5, but advance ballots will be mailed next week. And early voting begins in less than two weeks on Oct. 21.

Wells, a retired banker, finished 297 votes behind Brandon Whipple in the August primary. Whipple, a state representative from south Wichita, finished second behind incumbent Jeff Longwell.

Whipple and Longwell will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Rolph says supporters of Wells decided to act after an article in The Wichita Eagle said Longwell maneuvered a multi-million dollar contract for a new city water plant to a group headed by friends. Longwell maintains he did nothing improper during bidding for the contract.

“The world looks different now than it looked then,” Rolph said.

In 2003, three people campaigned as write-in candidates for mayor, including Jane Knight, Bob’s wife. Combined, the three captured more than 30 percent of the vote. Carlos Mayans easily won the election with 53 percent of the vote.

Tom Shine is director of news and public affairs at KMUW. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.