Mayoral race controversy brings more voters

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The election office was packed with early voters Monday morning. Election officers say already turnout is higher than it was in 2015. Political experts say the controversy surrounding the race might have something to do with it. 

"There has been a lot of news about the candidates and some of that news has been fairly dramatic. These are the sorts of things that stick in people's minds and that makes it more easy for them to remember to vote," says Russell Arben Fox, professor at Friends University. 

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Both Mayor Jeff Longwell and opponent Brandon Whipple faced different battles. Write-in candidate Lyndy Wells says his persistence in the race comes from the mudslinging. 

"Since then it's gotten even uglier and I'm grateful that I've given the voters another chance or another choice on the ballot," says Wells.  

Whipple says the accusations made against him were out of line. 

"The reality is there's going to be people who don't like me. I think this controversy, the political attacks. It shows the people are resistant to the change that we're going to bring."

City Council Member, Becky Tuttle, is hopeful something positive will come from the conflict .

"I would think that just because of the awareness, more people will get out and vote."

Whipple wanted to cast his vote early.

"At the very least, win or lose, we want to get people out."

But the message from all the candidates is the same.

"Wherever you vote and whoever you vote for, I encourage you to exercise that right that we've been given," says Wells. 

KAKE News tried to contact incumbent Mayor Longwell, his office declined an interview, saying he was in meetings all day. 

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