Multiple candidates force Independence to hold primary election

Mike Genet
The Examiner

To win re-election next April, Independence's mayor and at-large City Council members will first have to go through primary elections. 

Six mayoral candidates and five council at-large candidates filed candidacy forms and the necessary signatures before last week's deadline to be on the ballot, including two-term Mayor Eileen Weir and incumbent council members Karen DeLuccie and Mike Huff. According to the Independence City Charter, a primary election will be needed Feb. 8, 2022, because more than two mayoral candidates and more than four council at-large candidates filed.  

The other mayoral candidates are: Colleen Huff, Kenneth Love, Holmes Osborne, current state Rep. Rory Rowland and current Council Member Brice Stewart. 

Besides Mike Huff, who seeks a second term, and DeLuccie, who seeks a third term, at-large council candidates are Jared Fears, former council member Marcie Gragg and Billie Preston. One other at-large candidate submitted paperwork with the City Clerk's office but did not have enough valid signatures from registered voters in the city (250). 

The top two mayoral vote recipients and top four council at-large vote recipients will advance to the April 6 primary election. 

Weir, who ran unopposed for re-election in 2018, announced her third-term intentions in the spring and soon received an endorsement from the city firefighters' union. 

Huff, a certified parent educator, started a parent aid agency 10 years ago and two years ago received non-profit status for Transformation Visitation Home, which provides homeless families involved in the county court system a place for parent-child visits and reunification services for families. 

Like Stewart and Rowland, who first announced their candidacy in the summer, Huff believes a change is needed in the mayor's office. She said she believes her background can help bring positive change to the city, as she believes trash, abandoned buildings and homeless camps have become too prevalent, and the city can also do a better job of encouraging small business development. 

“I like the historic (aspect of Independence), the different functions of the Square and keeping Harry Truman's name alive,” Huff said. “I feel like there's a lot of potential, and we need to unlock it better.” 

Love, a recently retired truck driver, has said he would work to better represent the people and believes the city could be more fiscally responsible. He said he plans to stay in the mayoral race after an arrest last month for allegedly speeding, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and interfering with police. A court date is scheduled for next month.