Two weeks before the election, the Sentinel explored the bizarre case of Terry Goodman, veteran Overland Park city councilman turned bully. At the time we described his harassment of newcomer Gina Burke as “one of the more self-destructive campaign moves since Anthony Weiner resumed sexting.”
We did not understate Goodman’s miscalculation. In a day on which incumbents prevailed in almost every race, including the Overland Park mayor’s race, Burke edged Goodman 51 percent to 48 percent.
A 34-year-old mother of two, Burke challenged Goodman, a textbook good-old-boy, for the Fourth Ward seat. A former volunteer on the Overland Park planning commission, Goodman had held his Council seat unchallenged since 2001.
For no good reason, Goodman tried to bully Burke out of the race. Within just a few hours after filing in late May, Burke began to receive calls on her work number from Goodman. He then tried to call her cell phone. Goodman wanted to know why Burke was running. Not wanting to reveal her entire platform, she simply responded, “to get more involved.”
Goodman though the answer frivolous and did not hesitate to say so: “Gina, I’m not afraid of losing. It’s just such a hassel (his spelling) and unnecessary expense when you draw a last minute opponent who is running ‘to be involved.’”
Goodman started sending text messages demanding a meeting. “To the best of my knowledge,” he wrote, “you have not reached out to the Mayor, City Manager, Chamber of Commerce, etc. – nor have you been attending City Council meetings as the other candidates have been doing. As I said, it’s unfortunate that you did not call me before filing to express your interest, and that at you are unwilling to meet tonight.”
Goodman got at least two other councilmen to call. He offered inducements for her to drop out. He even showed up at Burke’s door. What Goodman did not anticipate was the Harvey Weinstein scandal. In its wake, the Kansas City Star took up Burke’s cause, an almost unprecedented gesture on behalf of a conservative.
If Goodman had ignored Burke, he would have beaten her, but as Richard Nixon proved years ago, paranoia does not mix well with politics.