Whitfield leads in unofficial Lawrence mayoral primary results


Unofficial results for the Lawrence mayoral primary put Deb Whitfield strongly in the lead to become the Democratic nominee over her opponent in the race, Shawn Denney.

With 170 out of 186 districts reporting as of 9:20 p.m. May 2, Whitfield had 2,190 votes to Denney’s 646. 

The Democratic nominee will face Republican David Hofmann in November. Hofmann, the deputy mayor, ran unopposed in the Republican mayoral primary. Incumbent Mayor Steve Collier is not seeking reelection.

Whitfield and Denney are elected representatives on the Lawrence Common Council. Whitfield, 69, was elected to the council in 2018.

At her election-night party at Fort Harrison Inn, Whitfield laughed, joked and danced with supporters as results came in showing her in the lead. She said she appreciates all of her supporters who see it’s time for a change. She’s looking forward to the November election. 

Whitfield said she’s worked hard to build trust in the neighborhoods, focusing her message on public safety, jobs and economic development. She credited her team’s hard work connecting with individuals throughout Lawrence. 

“One of the things I talk about is ‘unite the city.’ I think that’s very important because when I announced in March of 2022, that’s what I concentrated on,” she said. “I went to a lot of the neighborhoods and introduced myself. I went to neighborhoods (where) no one had ever seen the Lawrence Common Council before. And I sat down and listened to them. I think we’re going to continue on that pathway.”

She thanked Denney for a well-run race, and said she looks forward to continuing to work with him on the council. 

Denney said in a phone interview that he wishes Whitfield well in November and looks forward to everything she plans to bring to the city, 

“Even though the result wasn’t what we had hoped for, our friends, family and fellow candidates are still very much committed to the future success of Lawrence,” he said. “I know we all will stay involved and work for the betterment of our community.”

For results from other Lawrence races, click here.