WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The leader of the Republican Party in Sedgwick County is asking a state representative to resign. The move is in connection to a lawsuit over an attack ad in the Wichita mayoral race.
“Rep. Michael Capps, through various companies he owns, has been linked by investigative reports to be behind this attack,” said Dalton Glasscock, the chairman of the Sedgwick County Republican Party. “As a Republican Party, we will not tolerate these kind of acts. We are calling for a resignation of Michael Capps from public office.”
Mayoral candidate Brandon Whipple, who is also a Democrat representing south Wichita in the legislature, filed a defamation lawsuit Tuesday over the ad.
Whipple’s lawsuit claims that Matthew Colborn of Wichita produced a commercial that included false allegations of sexual harassment against Whipple. The lawsuit also claims two unknown, unnamed supporters of current Mayor Jeff Longwell were behind the ad.
KSN spoke to Capps, a Republican representing northeast Wichita, Bel Aire, and Benton. We asked him if he had anything to do with the production of the attack ad.
“Absolutely not,” Capps said. “I had no knowledge of the production. I wasn’t part of the production crew. I saw the video the same time the public saw it.”
Capps says Colborn is his campaign manager.
“Mr. Colborn will continue to receive my full support as a member of my team until such time as there’s reason to think differently,” Capps said.
We asked Capps if he was aware that county Republican leaders were asking for his resignation.
“That’s news to me,” Capps said. “Unfortunately, I haven’t heard that until you just now mentioned it to me.”
Capps says he will not step down.
“Why would I even consider that discussion,” Capps said. “My campaign, my office, me as an individual, I have absolutely nothing to do with this video. I never have had anything to do with this video and I’ll continue to stand by that.”
The statement from the Sedgwick County Republican Party says that the SCRP will donate all money received from Capps to ICTSOS.
“They are a local organization that strives to better our community through building people up, not tearing them down,” said Glasscock. “We also ask all local Republican affiliate groups to join us in donating any contributions received from Mr. Capps. This sends a strong signal that the Republican Party stands united against dirty politics.”
Whipple’s lawsuit says actresses in the ad were paid $50 each to pose as young girls who had been sexually harassed. It says the women went to a South Broadway address and were told they were producing a public service announcement against domestic violence but were not told who they were talking about.
Mayor Jeff Longwell has called the ad slimy and tells KSN no one who works for his campaign has had any involvement with the ad and he does not believe any of his supporters are involved.
KSN asked Longwell about the Republican Party’s request for Capps to resign.
“We believe that what the Sedgwick County Republican Party is doing is right and we agree with their actions,” said Longwell.
KSN also reached out to Colborn, the alleged producer of the video. He has not given us a response.