A 23-Year-Old Mayor Tried Trump’s Stolen Election Playbook. Only It Worked.

A small Kansas town is reeling after a baby-faced 23-year-old manipulated procedural technicalities to reinstall himself as mayor in one night, seemingly taking a page from the

playbook used by former President Donald Trump after he was voted out of office. Only, this time, it worked. “People have said this reminds them of Germany in 1935,”

Jeffery Jones, whose bid for a council seat in Goddard, Kansas, collapsed last week as Hunter Larkin abruptly took control, told The Daily Beast. “Like, ‘Hey, we don’t like you

anymore and we’re gonna vote you out and put our own person in.’” The convoluted machinations by which Larkin maneuvered his way back into power were described as

“essentially, a coup” and reminiscent of a totalitarian regime, according to one recently departed council member. And while Goddard, a Wichita suburb with a population of just

under 5,400, isn’t necessarily going to influence policy shifts on a national scale, the strategy used by Larkin—a right-winger who last year promoted an appearance in Goddard by

accused sex pest and conservative kingmaker Matt Schlapp—could serve as a stark warning of what’s possible elsewhere. “I have to hand it to Larkin,” Wichita Eagle columnist

Dion Lefle wrote. “I’ve covered cities for a long time and have seldom seen a political takeover that was this sleazy, and yet this well-orchestrated.” Larkin’s improbable

ascent to office can be traced back to August 2020, when the then-mayor of Goddard stepped down amid a fraud charge for counterfeiting tickets to the local zoo’s “Zoobilee”

charity fundraiser. Then-21-year-old City Council President Hunter Larkin was appointed to the job.