Joe Miller: Following the Money in KC’s Mayoral Race

I’ve combed through all the mayoral candidates’ campaign disclosures and I have this to say: Deb Hermann rules the roost.

True, she has less cash on hand than Sly James, whose bogus poll claims he’s in second place. But the range of people who have contributed to her indicate that, out of all the candidates, she has the strongest base of support.

First off, she has some of the heaviest hitters of the business establishment. The Chamber of Commerce gave her $3,000, as did the Downtown Council (which gave the same amount to Rowland). She got three grand from Hallmark. Another thousand from Terrance Dunn, CEO of J.E. Dunn. Tom McDonnell, of DST, forked over $3,000. And so did his wife.

These are big deal contributions. Especially coming this early in the primary season.

Last time around, all of these big shots waited until late in the game to side with either Mark Funkhouser or Alvin Brooks or, in several cases, both.

Hermann got dough from development trough-feeders: David Frantze (development attorney, $1,750); Jerry Riffel, (development attorney, $500); Al Figuly (development bureaucrat, $400). And more from public-works contractors Black and Veatch ($1,000) and Burns and McDonnell, with more than 30 of that firm’s employees forking over $250 each.

She also got $1,150 from Patricia Garney, wife of Charles Garney, who, I reported here earlier, gave money to Funkhouser despite being the target of Funk’s negative campaigning last election because he got tax support for a high class development north of the river.

What makes Hermann’s coffers interesting, though, and powerful, is that it’s full of names of people from all walks of Kansas City life.

A broad range of civic leaders who are connected to diverse networks of voters: Ed Drake (a longtime Westport politico who supported Funkhouser last go round and received a plum board appointment from him, $300); Marti Lee (Southland neighborhood leader, $125); Scott Burnett (longtime Jackson County rep, $355); Steven Israelite (leader in the Jewish and philanthropic communities, $200); Karen Holland (former chair of the Arts Commission and wife of development finance guy, Jack Holland, $2,000); Michael Duffy (of Legal Aid, helper of the poor, $100); Jerry and Mark Morales (Chicano neighborhood leaders, $150 total); Alan Hallquist, (attorney and longtime board member for KCPT, $1,000); and a truck dealership, Murphy-Hoffman Company, $3,000).

What I find most interesting about Hermann’s reports, though, isn’t who gave her money, but who she’s giving money to.

She’s paid Meghan Tallman $12,250 so far to manage her campaign.

I’d never heard of Tallman.

I poked around online and found that Tallman got a PR degree from UMKC back in the late 70s and early eighties. For the past 15 years or so she’s worked in the nonprofit sector, most recently for Sheffield Place, an organization with a mission “to empower homeless mothers and their children to heal from their trauma and help them become self-sufficient.”

I called Deb and asked how she found her. She said Scott Burnett recommended her.

Tallman has experience working on Burnett’s campaigns. She also worked for Karen McCarthy on her early runs for Congress.

Not sure if this is a good thing.

But my gut tells me it is. It seems wise to pick someone who’s not part of the "echo chamber," as KC political insiders call it: the hundred or so people who have built a life around KC politics.

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6 Responses to Joe Miller: Following the Money in KC’s Mayoral Race

  1. Gerald Bostock says:

    Meghan Tallman
    She ran for Jackson County legislature in 1990…at one point was on the school district’s desegregation monitoring committee…was an assistant to Sam Long….lots of Democrat-Irish connections.

  2. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    The guy that needs to move to KC proper and run for mayor…
    Mike Sanders, Jackson County commissioner.

  3. chuck says:

    Interesting stuff Joe.

  4. Tracy Thomas says:

    $355 from Scott Burnett?
    So, was this odd amount in-kind services?
    Or a tithe?!

  5. Linh Trieu says:

    Meghan Tallman is worth every penny
    I was lucky enough to work with Meghan through Sheffield Place. She is passionate, dedicated and works her tail off, whether it’s in politics, advocating for those less fortunate or rescuing/training Vizslas. It’s not everyday you become friends with someone like her. Keep doing a great job Meghan!!!

  6. harley says:

    just what the sinking city of kcmo needs…a mayor who’s sucking up to the money people who
    are already ruining the city.
    whoever wins gets a city thats about to collapse…a city that will have to cut services dramatically…
    a city on the downslide…a city thats losing business across the state line at an alarming rate..
    and a city thats going to lose it tax base and high dollar residents really soon.
    who would want that job?

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