Monday, January 10, 2011

The Star's Kraske grudgingly puts Mayor Funk in the general

Sizing up the Kansas City mayor’s race

Six weeks to go before Kansas City’s mayoral primary. Time to get serious.
And time for the first edition of The Great Kraskini’s mayoral power ratings.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say again: It’s a pretty good field. No obvious front-runner, but voters have quality candidates to choose from:
1. Deb Hermann. The chairwoman of the Finance and Audit Committee has broken into the early lead. She knows budgets. She knows the issues. She hails from the Northland, a dependable voting bloc. And she’s the field’s only woman.
2. Mark Funkhouser. Hard to believe, but here he is. At a mayoral forum Friday — and folks, there’s one scheduled almost every day between now and Feb. 22, so you’ve got plenty of opportunities to see the critters in person — the Funk was talking about his job when he admitted: “I’ve got this thing about figured out.” It’s never too late, mayor. The Port Authority controversy plays straight into his hands.
3. (tie) Jim Rowland/Sly James. Rowland wasted no time responding to the mayor: “There’s no learning curve with me. I’m certainly glad the mayor figured it out after four years. But that’s too long.” Rowland hails from the best voting bloc in the city — the Ward Parkway corridor. But he’s got to find a way to break from the pack.
James is a sleeper contender with money. He’s used that dough to quietly canvass for East Side votes. Could work.
5. Mike Burke. One-time front-runner with the field’s best resume. Tangential ties to Port Authority mess slowed early momentum. May not be out of it yet.
Also-rans, but interesting to listen to nonetheless: Charlie Wheeler, Henry Klein.

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