Error in survey distribution leads MainStream to reopen endorsement process in Prairie Village mayoral race — but result stays the same

The MainStream Coalition’s political action committee issued an endorsement in the Prairie Village mayoral race before it had given candidate Andrew Wang the chance to fill out its candidate survey.

The MainStream Coalition’s political action committee decided to reopen consideration of endorsements in the race for Prairie Village mayor last week after it realized one of the candidates had never received the survey it uses to gauge alignment with its positions.

But after receiving responses from all three candidates, the group ended up sticking with its single endorsement of former city councilman Eric Mikkelson in the race.

Ward 3 Councilman Andrew Wang said he was surprised to see the group had made its initial endorsement of Mikkelson at the end of last month because Wang had never received the candidate survey nor spoken with anyone on the phone about the endorsement process.

After reviewing its contact logs, MainStream confirmed that it had not reached out to Wang during the distribution of surveys initially. They provided both Wang and Serena Schermoly the chance to complete the survey last week.

“Last week, MainPAC, the political action committee of the MainStream Coalition, realized that one of the candidates for the Prairie Village Mayoral race did not receive our endorsement survey,” the group wrote in a message posted on its Facebook page. “We regret this error, and re-opened the endorsement process to all candidates in that race. As a result, all the candidates have now submitted surveys. The MainPAC committee evaluated all the candidates in an open and careful process, and in the end, our endorsements in the Prairie Village Mayoral race have not changed. MainPAC has endorsed Eric Mikkelson in this race. We regret the error, and apologize to the voters of Prairie Village.”

Wang said Wednesday that while he had demonstrated “the values of moderation and equality as a 14-year city council member and as an individual,” he was “very comfortable” not receiving MainStream’s endorsement. He was critical of the group’s actions.

“[The] MainStream process was severely flawed,” Wang said. “They issued their initial endorsement of Eric Mikkelson without considering all of the candidates.  Additionally, Eric has been describing himself as the ‘only’ candidate to be endorsed by Mainstream throughout the incomplete process. This does not surprise me, but I am disappointed that for two weeks, Mainstream said nothing about their exclusion or that they had re-opened their process shortly after making their initial announcement.”

Schermoly did not submit responses to the survey by the initial deadline, but did fill the survey out when MainStream reopened the endorsement process. Unlike with Wang, MainStream says it did send Schermoly the survey and that its phone records indicate MainStream personnel called her campaign to follow up. Schermoly maintains she never received the survey initially and never received a phone call. She said it’s possible the survey could have been hung up by the server if it was mailed to her Prairie Village city council address.

Regardless, she said she was having a hard time understanding how her positions or Wang’s positions on the issues in the survey would have disqualified them for endorsement.

“Knowing our positions and how we’ve voted the past couple years, there’s not a lot of daylight there,” Schermoly said. “How one could receive an endorsement over the other two doesn’t make much sense to me.”

Wang said he had quibbles with the format of some of the survey questions.

“The MainPAC survey did not just ask about values or beliefs but about hypothetical advocacy for laws and government spending; a candidate could not read or ask questions about the hypothetical ordinance,” Wang wrote us. “An experienced lawmaker could never support something they have never read.”

Contacted for comment on the situation, Mikkelson said he was “proud to be the only candidate for Prairie Village Mayor endorsed by Mainstream Coalition.”

“Mainstream has been a balanced, moderate, respected voice for good government in Prairie Village for decades,” he said.