Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2000

Hindsight

Lingle: Losing in DeSoto secondary to KFL role in election

August 24, 2000

Johnna Lingle said DeSoto didn't cost her a chance to serve on the Johnson County Commission another four years.

The 22-year county commission veteran lost the Aug. 1 GOP primary to Shawnee's Susie Wolf by 105 votes (4,886 to 4,781). Wolf faces no November competition.

While DeSoto didn't cost Lingle the election, it certainly didn't help. The incumbent lost here by 57 votes (147-204). Lingle was more popular in DeSoto four years ago when she won 46 percent of the vote in a three-way primary race.

"The irony is I've spent most of my time the past two years with DeSoto issues annexation, the fire district detachment, Oz and the joint overlay district," she said. "At my suggestion, the county staff has worked with DeSoto to help them progress into a more professional situation. They (DeSoto) are really doing it."

Lingle said she lost the election for two reasons: The Kansans for Life endorsement of Wolf and low voter turnout.

The Kansans for Life endorsement particularly hurt her in Shawnee, the only city she lost other than DeSoto. Wolf bested Lingle in Shawnee by a count of 2,370-1,904, Lingle said.

"I carried Lenexa, Lake Quivira and Lexington Township," she said. "DeSoto I understood, because I had to make some hard decisions. They (the city) just were not ready for everything they were asking for. They will be in the future.

"With Shawnee, there was no issue."

Except abortion, which is a not an issue on the county level, Lingle said.

"We don't have anything to do with abortion or gun control," she said. "Talk to me about sewers, roads, zoning or annexations. I will go on and on."

Kansans for Life never contacted her, Lingle said. She assumes they got involved to counter her endorsement from the Mainstream Coalitions endorsement.

Like Kansans for Life, the Mainstream Coalition is irrelevant on the county level, Lingle said. Before its endorsement, the Mainstream Coalition sent her a questionnaire on issues. Except for one question concerning the availability of library materials to juveniles, she wrote "not applicable" to all the queries.

"I didn't ask for it; I wish I hadn't received," Lingle said of the Mainstream Coalition endorsement.

Tim Golba, executive director of Kansans for Life's Political Action Committee, said the Mainstream Coalition's endorsement was key in his organization's decision to support Wolf.

"We know what they stand for," Golba said of the Mainstream Coalition. Kansans for Life didn't contact Lingle, Golba said, while adding "too bad, she didn't contact us."

Abortion is relevant in every race, Golba maintained.

"We would support for dogcatcher if there was a race," he said. "Anybody who doesn't support life shouldn't be elected to office."

Also, Kansans for Life has seen candidates it supported on the local level later get elected to more important offices.

"People start out small and move on to bigger things - look at Phill Kline," he said of the state representatives who running against Democratic incumbent Dennis Moore for the U.S. 3rd District Congressional seat.

Despite her loss, Lingle said she wishes Wolf well.

"I've only met her a few times," she said. "She seems like a nice person. She admits she has a lot to learn. I think that's good."

Her term isn't over yet. And Lingle said she will be busy the next few months working on two issues important to DeSoto and the surrounding area - the final selection of the northwest county roads that will be slated for improvement under the County Arterial Road Network Program and the possible transfer of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant to Oz Entertainment Co.

"I want to see them wrapped up before I leave office," she said of the two issues.

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