Political consultant Pat Gray died Thursday at age 69

The small club of political consultants in Kansas City got a little smaller on Thursday night when Pat Gray died. He was 69.

Health problems had dogged Gray for more than a decade and had become more apparent over the last year. He kept working nonetheless, and was tapped to work this upcoming round of Kansas City, Missouri, City Council primary elections. Quinton Lucas, an aspirant for Kansas City’s 3rd District at-large seat, is among candidates looking for a new source of political strategy after having worked with Gray ahead of the April primary.

Gray was perhaps the dean of the current crop of political advisers in Kansas City. His list of electoral victories in the local political arena is long. It includes passing user fees for the Sprint Center, getting Kay Barnes elected as Kansas City’s first female mayor, renewing Jackson County’s COMBAT tax, passing sales taxes in Jackson County to renovate the stadiums at the Truman Sports Complex, drumming up support for a bond issue to benefit the Kansas City Zoo.

His list of losses reads shorter, but there were some prominent ones. Those included the Bi-State II vote in 2004 to raise taxes on both sides of the state line to fix up Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums with some extra going to the arts and Alvin Brooks’ campaign against Mark Funkhouser for Kansas City mayor.

Few, if any elections, went by without Gray’s getting a call from one or both candidates or getting on a side of an issue. Usually Gray worked for one side, but sometimes he got caught working for both. 

Gray didn’t do politics with a gentle touch. He was willing to take a deep dive into rough-and-tumble politics, as this 2011 feature of the campaign guru in The Pitch illustrates.

Rest in peace, Pat.

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