Kansas Lawmakers Meet for Leadership Votes Monday

(AP) – Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick faces a challenge from a fellow Republican for the chamber’s top leadership position for another two years.

And House Democrats are naming a new leader.

The House’s 125 members and members-elect had organizational meetings Monday at the Statehouse to pick leaders for 2015 and 2016.

Republicans will hold a 97-28 House majority when lawmakers open the 2015 session in January, and GOP members will designate the speaker.

Merrick, from Stilwell, is finishing his first, two-year term and is seeking another. His challenger is Rep. Virgil Peck of Tyro.

Democrats must replace Minority Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence. He gave up his House seat to run unsuccessfully for governor.

Reps. Tom Burroughs of Kansas City and Jim Ward of Wichita are vying for the job.

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