Lily Wu finished first, and incumbent Brandon Whipple finished second in the top two nonpartisan primary election for mayor of Wichita, Kansas, on Aug. 1. Wu and Whipple advanced to the Nov. 7 general election from a field of nine candidates.
Though the race was officially nonpartisan, Wu—a former Republican—is a Libertarian. Whipple is a Democrat who defeated incumbent Mayor Jeff Longwell (R) in 2019.
Wu was a reporter and news anchor for two Wichita-area television stations for 12 years and also served as a board member for three Wichita-area nonprofit organizations. At her campaign announcement, she said: “Restoring trust in city hall really has to do with a change in leadership. I think what we need right now is a leader and an ambassador, like I mentioned, that helps bring back the trust (between residents and city representatives).”
Whipple was a Democratic state legislator from 2013 to 2020. He said Wichita’s most pressing issue was improving public safety: “As Mayor, we must continue to build a safer city. This includes rebuilding trust, investing in programs that address youth violence, domestic violence, human trafficking, and embracing best practices for addressing mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness.
As of June 2023, Democrats held 62 of the mayoral offices in the 100 largest cities in the United States, Republicans held 26, independents held three, and nonpartisan mayors held seven. Two mayors’ partisan affiliations were unknown.