The Mainstream Coalition today blasted a mailer attacking candidate Mark Holland, who is running for Unified Government mayor.
The coalition said it did not send out the mailer, that was listed under its name.
"It's politics at its worst," said Brandi Fisher, director of the Mainstream Coalition, which often endorses moderate candidates. The coalition's political action committee endorsed Holland.
Another organization sent out the mailer under the name Mainstream Coalition. Fisher said a number of years ago, a conservative group registered the name Mainstream Coalition and her organization then had to register under the Original Mainstream Coalition name. She added the other group is not an active one, and she believes it exists to create confusion in voters' minds.
"We haven't heard from them in years," Fisher said. She added she has confirmation linking the group calling itself Mainstream Coalition on the mailer to a conservative political group in Kansas.
"The sad part, for me, is negative campaigning is unfortunate, par for the course, but trying to manipulate and confuse the voters is really discouraging," she said. She said she believes organizations should be honest and not try to confuse the voters.
The Mainstream Coalition is lodging a complaint with the Kansas Ethics Commission.
Holland said he was staying positive in his campaign, focusing on the future, and choosing not to send out any negative fliers.
“I think that this negative stuff coming from outside of Wyandotte County is always a concern, which is what we’ve moved past since consolidation,” he said. “That’s why Carol Marinovich and Joe Reardon have endorsed me, because we’ve moved past that.”
A lot of third-party groups want to get involved, but he said he wishes they would just let the candidates state their piece.
Besides the negative Holland flier, Wyandotte County residents recently received two very negative fliers about Ann Murguia, who also is running for mayor. They were third-party fliers, not sent out by the candidates. The fliers about Murguia came out before the flier on Holland.
Murguia stated that the mailers she has sent out have a "Paid for Ann Murguia" stamp on them.
"As to the negative fliers on me I have done nothing and plan on doing nothing," she stated.
She said she believed the WYCO Jobs PAC mailers were funded by the Kansas Jobs PAC, funded by the Carpenters Union, which endorses Holland. While their spokesperson has said they didn't give WYCO Jobs PAC any money, they did give thousands to Kansas Jobs PAC.
"My general view on all the mailers is this - one calls Mark a tax raiser which is reflective of his voting record," she stated. "It is not personal nor does it attack him in a personal manner. However, the mailer that is negative about me basically calls me a crook. Big difference in my eyes. Personally I believe in outlining voting records but calling someone a criminal that is not a criminal is slander."
Wyandotte County voters will have another opportunity to hear the mayoral candidates before the election at a forum at 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, at the Main Kansas City, Kan., Public Library, 625 Minnesota. This event will be moderated by Steve Kraske for KCUR radio.