| April 1, 2003
Tonight was victory night for residents of Wards 5 and 6!
Dan Carbery won a 58% to 42% victory over Ron Williams in Ward 6.
John Thompson won a 52% to 48% victory over Dina Fisk in Ward 5 - a major upset victory.
George Kandt ran unopposed and will serve another 4 year term in Ward 6.
For complete coverage of the election and the campaign funding, click here.
Winners and Losers
The two winners of the competitive campaigns had a common focus on residents and neighborhoods and listening to their concerns. Both campaigns depended on going door to door and talking one on one with individual neighbors. Literally thousands of people got to hear directly from Carbery, Thompson, or one of their supporters. And both candidates helped people with advance voting.
The two losers also had much in common. Both were heavily funded by developers, their attorneys, large corporate landowners, and others of their ilk. It was obvious to anyone who saw their contributor list that these two people would be representing development special interests. Both had far more contributions than their opponents: Fisk had more than twice the money of Thompson; Williams had more than 3 times Carbery's contributions.
They both paid Rob McKnight, the establishment political consultant, for his advice (a total of $1,100) - and he clearly did not know how to respond to a grass roots campaign.
And finally, both the Fisk and Williams' supporters removed their opponents' signs by the hundreds upon hundreds. Over and over again. Often within hours of their placement. Even from neighbors' private lawns. In both the primary and the general elections. This served to energize the Carbery and Thompson campaigns and hence proved to be helpful to them both.
The winning campaigns ran somewhat differently from each other.
The Ward 6 Campaign
In Ward 6, citizens who had been fighting battles against inappropriate development were well organized. They had realized at least two years earlier that the only solution for the horrible development fiascos of the current Overland Park Governing Body was to get at the root of the problem. That meant beginning to change the composition of the City Council itself. This election was seen as a first test.
Several different strategies were followed in Ward 6: Dan Carbery with teams of volunteers walked the neighborhoods every weekend knocking on doors and talking with residents, pointing out all the positives that Dan would bring to the Council. Boards of Homeowner Associations decided to endorse Carbery. And the campaign spread the word in every way possible that development special interests had chosen Williams as their candidate. The funding reports were invaluable in this effort, particularly after research connected the names to the special interests.
The Ward 5 Campaign
In Ward 5, there was little organization to begin with. If ever there were someone who put in a truly heroic effort, it was John Thompson. Throughout the Primary and into the beginning of the General election, he was almost on his own, depending largely on himself and his family. Days began at 3am, passing out leaflets. Then talking with people at coffee shops. The late afternoon and evening were spent on door to door campaigning and phone calling. Day after day after day, weekend or workday.
At the beginning of the General Election, Ward 5 and 6 residents interviewed John and became convinced he would be a great addition to the City Council, but could offer little help. They did what they could by helping with voter/neighborhood information and analyzing the campaign funding reports. In the final couple of weeks, when it seemed that the Carbery campaign was almost certainly going to be successful and John Thompson's incredible efforts had brought his campaign within sight of victory, a few people were spared from the Carbery campaign to contribute some time along with a couple of Ward 5 neighbors in door to door campaigning for Thompson.
Combined Victory Party
And all of this led to an incredibly raucous and fun get together at McBride's on Tuesday evening with Dan Carbery, John Thompson, and their campaign workers celebrating this huge victory for the citizens of Overland Park. The initial voter returns showed that the focus on advance voting had paid off. Both campaigns began with a lead. As with the Primary, the advance voting turned out to be a very good indicator of the final results. The cheering and screaming were deafening as it was first realized that Carbery had won, and then that Thompson had won.
Nice guys finished first!!
Total vote 2,211 = 16% of registered voters
John H. Thompson: 1,165 votes, 52.69% of those cast
Dina Fisk: 1,044 votes, 47.22% of those cast
Total vote 2,316 = 17% of registered voters
Daniel J. Carbery: 1,349 votes, 58.25% of those cast
Ron Williams: 966 votes, 41.71% of those cast
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