December 3, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

An Uber Pol in Kansas? Software Exec Eyes KS Politics

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An uber-wealthy tech guy is moving to Lawrence and may be considering a political run in Kansas, according to the New York Times.

Brian McClendon, Uber’s head of mapping, told the Times he is stepping down from Uber at the end of the month. McClendon’s departure comes on the heels of  Uber President of Ride Sharing Jeff Jones’s departure from the ride-sharing company earlier this week. The Times reports McClendon’s departure from Uber is amicable.

“This falls election and the current fiscal crisis in Kansas is driving me to more fully participate in our democracy–and I want to do that in the place I call home,” he told the Times. McClendon hails from Lawrence. He tweeted March 19 that he is now registered to vote in Kansas and secured a Kansas driver’s license.

McClendon graduated from Lawrence High School and the University of Kansas. Google purchased his software to create Google Earth. McClendon was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2015.

McClendon’s statement to the New York Times didn’t say in what capacity he would enter Kansas politics. There are no incumbents running for the top job in Kansas. Gov. Sam Brownback is term-limited. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, who represents Lawrence in Congress, said she will not seek re-election.

McClendon, a former Google executive, has limited name recognition in the state.

“The shallow Democrat bench in Kansas opens the way to federal of statewide candidacies for motivated new people who can self-fund or successfully fundraise,” Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party said.

To date, one Democratic candidate, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, has announced his intent to seek the Governor’s office. One Republican, businessman Wink Hartman, formally entered the race last month. Ed O’Malley, a former state representative, announced his interest in the role.

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