Before we get rolling, I want to take a moment to point out that the public works and refuse crews with the City of Platte City are truly top-notch. I’ve witnessed many instances of those folks going above and beyond the normal call of duty. Very impressive.
If there is ever a Public Works Olympics competition, Platte City has a great chance to win gold. Salute those folks when you get a chance.
Brace yourselves, the midterm elections are less than three weeks away. If you’re a political junkie like I am, this is a fun time of year. If you’re not that into that sort of thing, you’re already tired of the political commercials playing across your television screens. (If you think they’re running frequently now, just wait till the pace picks up in about 10 days.)
In addition to the nationwide federal-level midterms, the local elections are upon us as well, highlighted primarily by a contested race for presiding commissioner for Platte County between Republican Scott Fricker and Democrat John DeFoor, with the winner taking over for Ron Schieber, who is not seeking re-election after serving two terms.
There also is a contested race for county clerk, where Republican Jera Pruitt will square off against Rebecca Nafzinger, Democrat, with the winner replacing Nancy Armstrong, who is not seeking re-election after serving two terms.
A couple of state representative spots are contested. In District 12 (primarily Parkville and Riverside areas), Republican Tom Hutsler will face Democrat Jamie Johnson. Both Hutsler and Johnson reside in the 64152 zip code. In District 14 (primarily east of I-29 and south of I-435 but also including Weatherby Lake), Democratic incumbent Ashley Aune faces Republican challenger Eric Holmes. Both Aune and Holmes reside in the 64151 zip code.
For a bigger picture outlook for political junkies, a lot of eyes are on the governor’s race in Kansas, where incumbent Laura Kelly, Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Derek Schmidt. This is an interesting one to watch. Kelly has been trying to link Schmidt to former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a negative connection these days. Meanwhile, Schmidt is comparing Kelly to Joe Biden, who lost Kansas by a wide margin in 2020.
According to Steve Kraske, talk show host on KCUR radio who stays on top of the political scene, the race has taken some twists and turns in polling. “For so many reasons, Schmidt should win this race. Kansas remains rock-ribbed Republican. Donald Trump carried it by 56-42%.
Republicans dominate the legislature and hold three of the state’s four congressional seats and both Senate slots. Some of the state’s top Democrats thought Kelly was dead in the water not so long ago, with private polls saying she trailed by 6-8 points. But not now,” Kraske said in a newsletter that hit my inbox this week. “The recent public poll has the race close with Kelly up by two. She has turned her fortunes around by signing a food sales tax cut and by snaring that $4 billion Panasonic battery plant that will employ 4,000,” Kraske added. The radio host also says independent candidate Dennis Pyle, a conservative, may take some votes out of Schmidt’s pocket.
Kraske then talks about demographics in Johnson County. This is interesting to me. Demographics, in fact, are a topic I’d like to bring up with Missouri State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who will be our guest Thursday night on Landmark Live.
As for Johnson County, Kan., Kraske says that county is rapidly shifting Democratic. “It is doing so at an astonishing pace,” Kraske says. He says between 2016-2022, the number of registered Republicans in Johnson County grew by 9,000. But during that same time period, Democratic registration jumped by 50,000. Wow.
Johnson County went for Biden in 2020 “and that was the first time the county went blue in a presidential race in decades,” Kraske says. Heavily populated Johnson County delivers about 30 percent of the total statewide vote in Kansas, by the way.
This is interesting to me because there have been some whispers among candidates and pollsters that Platte County, a Republican stronghold since the early-to-mid-1990s, is seeing growth in the number of voters who lean Democratic. Not a majority, mind you, that nod still belongs to the Republicans, of course. But there is some underlying talk that the number of Democrats in Platte County has grown at a fairly rapid pace the past few years. That will seem surprising to some. You’ll recall Biden ran stronger than anticipated in Platte County back in 2020.
It will be interesting to see if Luetkemeyer has any information or any feeling about local demographics. If this talk of Democratic growth in Platte is true, I have a theory that I’ll share with you at a later time. Hint: it’s one word, five letters.
Guy Speckman and I really enjoyed last week’s show featuring former Kansas City King/Boston Celtic Scott Wedman, who has been a resident of Weatherby Lake in Platte County for more than 40 years. If you haven’t yet seen the video you can find it on our Facebook page at Platte County Landmark, on our YouTube channel, and on our website at plattecountylandmark.com. It seems to have been a hit with the viewing public.
Viewership numbers for the show with Wedman are on pace to easily top 5,000 by the end of this week.
On-deck for a Landmark Live appearance in the near future? Neil Smith, former standout defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs during the Marty Schottenheimer era. Smith went on to win a couple of Super Bowl rings with the Denver Broncos. Recently I learned that Neil and I have a mutual friend, who broke the ice with the football star and supplied me with Neil’s phone number. I chatted with Neil by phone on Tuesday and we’ll follow that conversation up with another phone talk early next week to try to nail down the date for his appearance on Landmark Live. Stay tuned for details.
If you need me this week try to catch me before Friday. On that day I’m off see how many futures I can try not to screw up, err, positively influence while talking with students at a Career Day event at a high school in the farther reaches of northwest Missouri. I’ll be fine, but please wish them luck.
(Things are on a roll so send Foley a name you’d like to see on Landmark Live: firstname.lastname@example.org)