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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Lily Wu wins Wichita mayoral election

Lily Wu has been elected as Wichita’s mayor, defeating incumbent Brandon Whipple in Tuesday’s general election.

In Sedgwick County’s unofficial final tally, Wu received 35,859 votes (58%), beating Whipple’s 25,557 votes (42%). According to The Wichita Eagle, Wu is the second woman to win a citywide election for mayor, and she will be the first Asian-American person in the position, according to KMUW.

Around 23% of Wichita’s registered voters cast a ballot, with 77,253 Wichitans voting out of 332,441 registered voters.

In her victory speech, Wu thanked Whipple for his service and wished him and his family the best. She said when she and her family immigrated, they were welcomed into the Wichita community.

“Wichita is the place where an 8-year old-immigrant who didn’t speak English can now stand before you, tonight, a 39-year-old woman, mayor elect of the best city in America,” Wu said.

Wu, a former TV news reporter, said she will be a voice for all of Wichita as the mayor and allow her past experiences as a journalist to guide her.

“Wichita has made it very clear — restoring trust in City Hall can’t just be a slogan,” Wu said. “It has to be the way our city leaders live their lives and govern. I know this starts with me.”

Whipple left his watch party after a batch of votes favoring Wu were added to the total, giving a short speech where he thanked his campaign staff.

“It doesn’t look great right now,” Whipple said. “It’s not due to folks not working hard.”

Although all mayoral candidates are officially nonpartisan, Wu, a former Republican, identifies as a Libertarian, and she received campaign contributions from several prominent Republicans. 

Wu was backed by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political action group that receives funding from the Koch family; the organization contributed more than $120,000 to Wu’s campaign.

In her victory speech, Wu restated her campaign priorities of public safety and economic development. She said she will provide resources to the Wichita Police Department to restore public safety. 

Alix Estep, who attended Wu’s watch party, said Wu will bring fresh ideas to the table. 

“(The world’s) changing, and people need to be able to have fresh ideas and keep up with it — and I think she’ll do that,” Estep said.

Amelia Phommachanh, a door knocker for Wu and a mentee through Wichita Asian Association, said Wu’s campaign has been inspiring.

“It’s been really inspirational to watch her and see what she actually sees for the future of Wichita, whether that be with community, public safety, and most importantly, trust and authenticity within a capital housing,” Phommachanh said.

When running for re-election, Whipple’s campaign points included improving community policing and public transportation, providing work opportunities for young people, and reducing homelessness in Wichita to a “functional zero.” Whipple is a Democrat.

Vice-Mayor and City Council District 3 Representative Mike Hoheisel, who attended Whipple’s watch party, said he would continue to build relationships with others in Wichita’s government after Wu’s win.

“No matter what, we have got the best resource possible, which is the people of Wichita, who are great human beings with big hearts,” Hoheisel said. “So as long as we have good people living in the city and continuing to make their society and community better, we’re going to continue to be just fine.”

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Loren Amelunke
Loren Amelunke, Reporter
Loren Amelunke is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. She is a sophomore at Wichita State, currently pursuing a psychology major. She loves to write poetry and hopes to publish a poetry book in the near future.
Monique Bever
Monique Bever, Reporter
Monique Bever is a first-year reporter and photographer. She is a freshman majoring in philosophy. Monique has lived in Wichita for most of her life. She loves film, fashion, and her cat.

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