Nephew of current Wichita City Council member plans to run for his seat this year

·3 min read
Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle

Jeff Blubaugh can’t run for another term on the Wichita City Council but that doesn’t mean southwest Wichita will be without a Blubaugh on the ballot this year.

Bentley Blubaugh plans to run for his uncle’s District 4 seat, challenging former Sedgwick County Republican Party Chair Dalton Glasscock, who has already been endorsed by Jeff Blubaugh.

Bentley Blubaugh, 20, who moved to Wichita from Harper County earlier this year, operates Mr. Bs Daylight Donuts, a Goddard shop owned by his parents, former Goddard Mayor Jamey Blubaugh and Liz Blubaugh.

Bentley Blubaugh volunteered on Kris Kobach’s unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial bid and worked union construction jobs before switching to the donut shop. He told The Eagle that after stepping away from politics for several years, he now leans more to the left on some social issues. He is a registered Republican.

“I think I’m pretty fortunate to have good mentors in politics,” he said. “My uncle does great. My dad did very good when he was in Goddard.”

Jamey Blubaugh, who previously served on the Goddard school board, resigned as mayor of the Wichita suburb in 2021 after he was caught counterfeiting tickets for a Sedgwick County Zoo charity fundraiser.

Bentley Blubaugh announced his candidacy for Wichita City Council on May 18, hours before Glasscock formally entered the race.

Blubaugh has never run for office before, but he said he’s been immersed in local government his whole life.

“I think it’s a good time,” said Blubaugh, who married his wife Sadie in December and is expecting his first child. “There’s a few goals we haven’t achieved but those are really long-term goals. There’s nothing really more I want for myself, and I think now it’s time to serve the people around me.”

Jeff Blubaugh, who is facing term limits on the council and plans to run for Democrat Sarah Lopez’s seat on the Sedgwick County Commission in 2024, said he will not retract his endorsement for Glasscock, the chair of his district advisory board. He issued the endorsement shortly after a campaign kickoff event in January.

“Dalton has put in the time,” Jeff Blubaugh said. “He chairs my DAB and has been working towards this for years.

“I don’t want to discourage any of our young people who want to step up [and run for office] because it takes a lot of bravery no matter who you are to step up and put your name on there,” he said.

The younger Blubaugh was critical of the City Council’s unanimous decision in April to approve an expanded $6.15 million plan for District 4’s South Lakes pickleball complex, more than twice what was initially approved in 2021.

“I liked the original proposal,” Bentley Blubaugh said. “I think it was good. I think it’s a good thing for Wichita, obviously, if the budget is right for it at the time. But with the new proposal and the new budget, I just think it’s kind of a slippery slope of ‘how much is it really going to be at the end?’”

He said that if elected to the City Council, he would prioritize law enforcement. But he acknowledged that trust between citizens and the Wichita Police Department has eroded in recent years, noting the sobering findings of the Jensen Hughes report, which examined cultural issues within WPD.

“I don’t believe in militarized police but I believe in military discipline,” Blubaugh said. “So not militarized police, but the discipline that the military has — I think the police should have too. It’s a great way to train them and to show that that if you do something wrong, you need to get disciplined for it.”

The District 2 and District 5 City Council races will also be on the ballot this year, as is mayor of Wichita and three of seven seats on the Wichita school board. The filing deadline to run for office is June 1.