Just days before early voting begins in the general election, Lyndy Wells is re-entering the race for Wichita mayor, this time as a write-in candidate.
"I know it’s a challenge, but I believe it’s achievable," he told reporters Thursday. "I’d like to be able to give the voters an alternative to the two candidates who are on the ballot.”
Wells came in third out of nine primary contenders in August, finishing less than 300 votes behind state representative Brandon Whipple, and about 1,600 votes behind incumbent Mayor Jeff Longwell.
Wells said he had accepted the outcome of the primary and didn't anticipate continuing in the race — but a recent Wichita Eagle article about the mayor's handling of the new water treatment plant exposed a "breach of trust."
"We think it's important that we challenge that a little bit," Wells said. "I think the spirit of the community has changed since the information ... came out."
He's also touting his community service over what he says is Whipple's "limited leadership experience."
Wells name won't appear on the ballot — which the Sedgwick County Election Office began to mail out Wednesday — but he says he's spending the weeks ahead of Election Day encouraging Wichitans to remember him when they go to vote.
He says he made the decision to re-enter the race on Wednesday, not long after some of his supporters began a push to have him run. That included a television spot featuring former mayors Carl Brewer and Bob Knight.
"When I was first approached about 7 or 8 days ago, my reaction was I didn't think was an appropriate thing for me to do," he said. "But I observed ... that this community is interested in trying to find alternatives to the current ballot."
A write-in candidate has never won a Wichita mayoral race, but Wells says he's "confident" he can win next month.
"Otherwise I would not do it.”