Garcia joins mayoral race as write-in
Basehor voters will have two choices in the mayoral election after all. It just won't be the two they thought they'd have.
In the wake of Basehor Mayor John Pfannenstiel's withdrawal from the election, City Council President Chris Garcia has told the county election office of his intent to be a write-in candidate for the April 3 election.
Garcia announced his decision to run for office on Saturday afternoon, during a press conference called by Pfannenstiel at Basehor City Hall.
Garcia said he decided to run so Basehor voters would have another choice in the election.
"The voters want two choices for mayor," Garcia said. "Since Saturday, I have heard from people thanking me for stepping forward to run for this position. They support me fully with what I am doing and feel that I can lead the city the way it should be done."
Since the charges against Pfannenstiel were brought forward last September, a plan was devised by Pfannenstiel and Garcia that would allow Garcia to run should Pfannenstiel be convicted, Garcia said.
"When John thought he might run for county commissioner, he said he didn't know who would step up and run for mayor," Garcia said. "I, then, sat down and told John that if he ran for commission, I would run for mayor.
After the charges came out, I told John that if worst came to worst and he was convicted, that I would run as a write-in candidate. I told John I would not run against him because I thought he was doing an outstanding job leading the city and I didn't feel I would want to oppose him."
Garcia has been on the City Council since 1999 and was appointed council president after council member Robert Vervaecke resigned in November.
Garcia has a long history of public service. Before being elected to the council he was a member of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce for five years, serving as president for one year, member of the Basehor planning commission for one year and is currently on the board of directors for Leavenworth Area Development.
Garcia said he understands that winning the election as a write-in candidate will be a tough task, and he started his campaign shortly after the Saturday press conference.
"After the press conference, I immediately started calling people and asking for their support," Garcia said. "I don't think I had one person tell me they wouldn't support me."
Garcia said since his decision he has heard from many Basehor residents that have offered help in his campaign.
"I have heard from citizens who have asked me what I needed for the campaign," Garcia said. "The only thing I told them was to help get the word out and all of them said they would."
Because the election is only a week away, Garcia said he doesn't have a lot of time to put up yard signs like the other candidates but voters will see them regardless.
"People have called me and said 'get me a yard sign,' so that's what I am going to do," Garcia said. "We have made some home-made signs and ordered some that will be done by Wednesday."
Garcia said he may not know the ins-and-outs of Basehor city government as well as Pfannenstiel, but his experience as a councilman and council president will help him should he win the election.
"I am familiar with the comprehensive plan for the city, the planned area map for Basehor, the codes for the city of Basehor and the building regulations for the city," Pfannenstiel said. "I don't know everything that John knows, but I feel I have the foundation that will help me capably run the city the way it should be."