Spencer Duncan doesn’t know the intent behind anonymous postcards labeling him a Republican, but he wants Topeka voters to know he’s registered as unaffiliated.
Duncan and three other mayoral candidates on Monday made statements critical of the postcards, for which the source remained a mystery as Topekans prepared to go to the polls.
The cards, mailed without a return address, tell recipients to “know the difference” between Duncan and Councilwoman Michelle De La Isla, whom they label as a Democrat.
“I have no idea what the intent of that card was, and I have nothing to do with it,” Duncan said Monday.
Any person or group who engages in such behavior ruins the spirit and intent of free and impartial elections, said mayoral candidate Mark Weiser.
“I am appalled that anyone would use this tactic to sway our election for mayor,” he said. “I hope they are found and held accountable.”
A dozen people — including eight who’d received the card — contacted Duncan beginning late Saturday to ask him about it, he said. County election office records show Duncan switched from Republican to unaffiliated on April 19.
The postcards were sent out at a time when De La Isla and Duncan are the leading fund-raisers among candidates in the race for Topeka’s mayor. Also running are Weiser, Chris Schultz and Clark W. Trammell.
Concern over the postcards emerged as voters prepared to decide Tuesday which two candidates will proceed to the general election.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the Topeka mayor’s office being the only seat up for a vote in Topeka and Shawnee County.
This is the first year for municipal primary elections here to be held in August instead of late February or early March, county election commissioner Andrew Howell noted Monday. He predicted a 12 percent voter turnout.
Races for Topeka’s mayoral office and council seats are nonpartisan, a point De La Isla stressed Monday while saying she had nothing to do with the cards and felt unhappy they’d been sent out.
“It should not be about party,” she said. “It should be about the candidates’ track record and their heart for the position.”
Schultz said he considered it unfortunate that anyone in the mayoral race should feel the need to personally attack another candidate.
“I’m personally in this race to run for Topeka and not against anyone else, as I always have been,” he said.
Trammell hadn’t been familiar with the postcard situation.
“It appears De La Isla and Duncan are handling this as professionals,” he said.
Duncan hadn’t filed any official reports regarding the postcard. He hadn’t thought about doing that, possibly as a result of his being a first-time candidate for public office, he said.
Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.