Mystery solved. Kind of. Let me explain.
The Republican primary race for Platte County Recorder of Deeds was a battle between two candidates who basically did not campaign for office. The public, heck the media, too, knew little, if anything about either candidate. With the Democrats not putting forth a candidate for the recorder position, the winner of the Republican primary would almost assuredly be elected in the November general eelction to replace Gloria Boyer, retiring recorder of deeds.
The two names on the primary ballot for recorder were Travis Youmans, who currently works in the recorder’s office but a virtual unknown to the general public, and a man by the name of Christopher L. Wright.
As previously noted, neither man did any type of serious campaigning for the office. Given that, one would have likely assumed the candidate already working in the recorders office would have an advantage and would be victorious.
That’s the opposite of what happened. Youmans didn’t win. Wright (he asks for us to call him Chris, not Christopher) did. And it wasn’t close. Wright won by a very comfortable, in fact virtual landslide margin, of 61% to 39%.
Heck, unexpected things can happen in local elections. Remember in 2020, Fox News-loving conspiracy theorist extraordinaire incumbent county commissioner Dagmar Wood won by a tight 52-48% margin over a political novice who barely campaigned. (Shortly after being sworn in for her second term, Wood started telling friends and associates that she doesn’t plan to run in 2024. Too close for comfort?)
Anyway, one day last week the winning recorder candidate came walking in the front door of The Landmark. Not surprisingly, I had no idea who he was until he introduced himself.
“I really wasn’t even paying attention to the election returns that night,” Wright said. When a friend called him to tell him early returns had showed he was winning comfortably with about 70 percent of the vote, Wright told his friend that he had to be mistaken. “I told my friend no, they must be saying that 70% of the votes are in,” Wright said. But his friend was insistent, and Wright was as surprised as anyone that he was on his way to victory. He said he wasn’t expecting that. Not in the least.
It’s your, um, typical story of ‘man who doesn’t campaign, isn’t paying attention on election night and has no dreams of winning’ wins an election.
So now what?
To Wright’s credit, he has started doing his research and learning more about the office to which he was elected. He has had visits with veteran recorder Boyer and has talked with Youmans. Wright says Youmans plans to continue working in the recorder’s office even though his run for the post was not successful. Wright is happy about that.
Wright is developing ideas for the recorder’s office. Assuming he wins the November election–which seems like a safe assumption with no Democrat on the ballot–he plans to take time away from his regular job in December to get in some serious preparation time in the recorder’s office.
Wright said he works as a case manager for Hillcrest Transitional Housing and works from an office at an apartment complex just north of downtown Platte City, so he is close to the county administration building.
One of his ideas is to make the county recorder’s office a location where people could go to apply for passports on walk-in basis. That’s not a bad idea. The local post office also provides this service, but apparently on an appointment basis. Wright said he has spoken with the local postmaster who was supportive of Wright’s idea to begin this service at the recorder of deed’s office. It would, in theory anyway, remove some work load off the post office folks.
Wright said after he first filed for office he did a little campaigning in Riverside and then just stopped. I asked why he hadn’t sent out any press releases announcing his candidacy. He said he did. I said I didn’t receive it, maybe it took a deep, deep dive into my spam folder. I asked which email address he sent it to, and he then started to quote an email address not associated with The Landmark. So no, I don’t think it even made it to my spam filter.
In total fairness and for informational purposes, it should be noted Wright isn’t a total newcomer to public service. He serves as the chairman of the board of trustees at the Village of Ferrelview. Yes, that Ferrelview, where controversy typically abounds, most of it around a police department that for years could be fairly described as an out-of-control crap show with little accountability. Wright knows this, and says he is working hard to fix it. Could be some important news coming on that horizon real soon, he hinted.
So what was the key to winning in a race between two candidates who didn’t campaign?
“A politically-experienced friend of mine told me it’s because I had the more common sounding name,” says Chris Wright of his victory over Travis Youmans.
Makes sense. Travis Youmans was the first name listed on the ballot. That’s typically thought to be an advantage. Christopher Wright was below. Yet Wright won easily.
Funniest tweet I’ve seen this week is this one from a man by the name of Jimmy Failla, who wrote this:
“I’m not actually worried about the cost of college because my son is 6’5” so he’s gonna get a women’s basketball scholarship.”
(Ivan Foley isn’t campaigning and has no dreams of winning an election but you can still reach him at email@example.com)