23-Year-Old GOP Mayor Who Retook Office In 'Coup' After Voters Ousted Him Speaks Out
Hunter Larkin, the 23-year-old Mayor of Goddard, Kansas, quoted Steve Jobs to defend his retaking of the mayor's office against the will of voters.
23-year-old Hunter Larkin managed to re-install himself as mayor, despite having resigned the office last year.
He is now facing concentrated backlash from the community for wresting power back in a Trump-esque ploy some locals called "essentially a coup," but it seems like he isn't willing to leave the office any time soon.
In a recent city council meeting, Larkin misquoted the late Steve Jobs in an attempt to justify his actions—apparently likening himself to the visionary who made Apple the company it is today.
In May 2022, Larkin announced:
"I would like to make an announcement in regards to this last weekend’s news article. I believe it’s important for me to recognize that even though, you know it’s hard to tame the political animal, the political beast sometimes, public perception is important to me."
"I believe that people of Goddard need to know where my heart is, and that I have the best interests of them in mind, and I want to be able to rest assure them and so as of right now, just temporarily, I plan on stepping down as mayor and handing it over to Larry Zimmerman, our vice mayor, and this also gives me a good opportunity to focus on statehouse race that I believe I have a new opponent in the audience with me and I’m looking forward to the great things that Goddard has in store in the future."
"So, thank you. and God bless you. Larry, it’s all yours."
The announcement came after ethics concerns were raised about Larkin's fundraising and a DUI arrest.
Larkin retained a seat on the Goddard city council after he left his position as mayor. He did run for state office, but lost.
He used his council seat to orchestrate a takeover of the city council and reinstate himself as mayor by ousting current mayor Larry Zimmerman.
You can see KSN-TV news coverage here:
Dion Lefler of the Wichita Eagle said of Larkin's hostile takeover:
"I have to hand it to Larkin. I’ve covered cities for a long time and have seldom seen a political takeover that was this sleazy, and yet this well-orchestrated."
During the city council meeting in question, many spoke out about their distrust for Larkin and his friends on the council and expressed a desire for him to step down completely.
One long-time resident, a hospice chaplain named Jeffery Jones, told the council:
"As I told The Daily Beast two weeks ago, if I can’t do it from up there. I’ll do it from out here ... I would like for you to resign, number one. Not just as mayor, but I need you to step down from the council. You have a hallway that stretches down to the lobby, of people who, for lack of a better word, are pissed, mayor."
Of the roughly 100 residents who came to the meeting, around 20 stood and spoke to the council—all expressing varying levels of disappointment and distrust for Larkin and his allies.
"I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I think you ought to resign ... This is a huge moment in our city’s history, and we’ve got your stink all over it. We’ve got a stain on this city, the corruption, sitting right there, It’s insane to me."
"Yes, it might be legal what you did. It might be within the bylaws or whatever. But it’s not right… We deserve so much better… We want you out of here… Because we cannot trust you."
Another resident, who described herself as a lifelong Goddard resident, not only called for Larkin to resign but had a pretty stark comparison to make:
"We’ve been on the national news one other time… It was when there was a shooting at the middle school… It was a very painful time for our town. This is worse."
After the long line of city residents spoke out against Larkin, he decided to respond.
He petulantly began his rebuttal:
"Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but I think I’m going to."
He then emerged from behind the council dais and stood directly in front of the citizens, claiming to quote Steve Jobs—though the famous quote can actually be attributed to a copywriter at an ad agency:
"Here’s to the crazy ones. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
But, about the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while others may see you as the crazy one, we see genius. Because the ones who think they can change the world are the ones who do."
He continued, seemingly completely ignoring all of the statements he had just listened to from citizens expressing their distrust for him:
"I know that what happened at the last meeting was tough. But it was done out of love. Words don’t do much. But actions speak louder than words… And we will make you proud. And I promise that."
Goddard residents aren't ready to just accept Larkin's coup without a fight, though.
Michael Proctor, a former Goddard council member, is leading a recall effort to attempt to remove Larkin from office.
He told The Daily Beast:
"For elected officials to hold themselves out as listening to the people, he really needs to listen to the calls for resignation."
Proctor further described Larkin's quoting Jobs as "cringe."
To top it all off, when The Daily Beast reached out to Larkin for comment, he responded via text:
"I have no desire to talk to the fake news media."
Not off to a particularly great start inspiring confidence and making the people of Goddard proud.