Kansas on Verge of Killing Presidential Primary
March 24, 2015

AP) – Kansas has not held a presidential primary since 1992, and lawmakers are advancing a bill to stop the state from scheduling such a contest every four years.
The state Senate gave first-round approval Tuesday to a bill that repeals the law setting the primary on the first Tuesday in April in each presidential election year. A final vote is expected Wednesday.
The special election in 2016 would cost an estimated $1.8 million.
Legislators have canceled the past five primaries because of their cost. The Republican and Democratic parties have instead held presidential caucuses and covered the cost themselves.
The bill before the Senate initially would have cancelled the 2016 primary while still allowing future elections, but senators amended it to stop scheduling the contests in the future.

Kansas GOP: Make Sunflower State a Conservative Model
August 10, 2012

AP WICHITA — Kansas Republicans said Thursday they want to make the state a model for the nation after several conservative challengers ousted moderate Republican legislators during this week’s primary elections.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer touted the victories along with more than a dozen GOP candidates who won the party’s nomination in state House and Senate races.
Pompeo said that during his first year and a half in office, he has watched what happens in Congress when states are bold by passing state laws eliminating government regulations and revamping tax policies.
“We all gather up in Washington and say, ‘Why not us too? Why can’t we do this? Why can’t we behave the way that Wisconsin is behaving, the way Gov. (Bobby) Jindal is doing in Louisiana, the way Gov. (Sam) Brownback and Lt. Gov. Colyer are trying to do here in Kansas?” Pompeo said.
Kansas can point others in the right direction, he said.
Conservatives scored big in the Kansas GOP primaries, shattering a bipartisan coalition that had slowed or blocked fiscal and social policy initiatives pushed by Brownback and the political right. Voters tossed out seven moderate GOP senators, and an eighth, Senate President Steve Morris of Hugoton, trailed enough Tuesday night that he’s likely to lose as well though the results haven’t been finalized.
If Republican retained their current 32 seats in the 40-member Senate in November’s general election, conservatives would hold 27 of them. Democrats currently hold only eight seats in the Senate, meaning they’d have to pick up seven more seats in the chamber to be able to work the five remaining GOP moderates to block conservatives, who would need 21 votes to pass anything.
Democratic legislative leaders say their party is offering an alternative to a conservative takeover of the Kansas Legislature, though they aren’t likely to see a net gain of seven seats in GOP-leaning Kansas.
The state House already has a conservative majority, thanks to a similar political wave in 2010.
Democrats are urging voters — including Republicans — to support them if they want an alternative to Brownback’s agenda.
“Today the face of the Republican party is more anti-public school, more anti-worker, more anti-woman and more anti-middle class than ever before,” Rep. Paul Davis, the House Democratic leader, said in an email. “This is no longer the party of Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, Bill Graves and Nancy Kassebaum.”
Pompeo said the GOP conservative wins show that Kansas voters want limited government.

Kansas Conservative Route Leaves Moderates Isolated
August 9, 2012

KC Star:
The joke used to be that the Democratic caucus in the Kansas Senate was so small it could meet in a phone booth.
Soon, moderate Senate Republicans could probably meet in one, too.
If Tuesday’s primary results hold through the fall, the Kansas Senate would be left with five moderate Republicans after conservatives won decisively in key Senate races on Tuesday. Conservatives defeated seven moderate incumbents who were blamed for blocking Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda.
“It was an ugly election,” said former state Senate President Dick Bond, a moderate Republican who backed several Johnson County Senate candidates who lost Tuesday.
The road back for moderates will be difficult — and maybe even out of reach.
“Moderate Republicans as an elected class are on the ropes,” said Bob Beatty, political science professor at Washburn University in Topeka. “They’ve lost the ability to garner an electoral majority.”
The only thing that might change that, experts said, is if moderate voters feel pinched by conservative policies.
Before Tuesday’s primary, moderate Republicans made up 14 of the 40 members of the Kansas Senate. Conservatives won two primaries in Johnson County Senate districts now represented by moderates and will face Democratic opposition in the general election.
The conservative sweep was best illustrated out west, where Senate President Steve Morris, a moderate Republican from Hugoton, was beaten by state Rep. Larry Powell of Garden City.

KS Conservatives Purge Moderates, Senate President Morris & 7 Others Defeated
August 8, 2012

Kansas conservative Republicans all but eliminated the moderate bloc of fellow Republicans in the State Senate Tuesday.
Conservatives defeated incumbent Senate President Steve Morris. He was defeated by Larry Powell.
Moderate Tim Owens lost his Johnson County primary to conservative freshman St. Rep Jim Denning.
Moderates lost another Johnson County seat as Jeff Melcher defeated St. Rep Pat Collotin. That was an open seat, formerly held by moderate Senator John Vratil.
In all, eight moderate Republican members of the State Senate lost primary campaigns to
more conservative challengers.
In Topeka, Moderate Vicky Schmidt clings to a 49 vote lead over Joe Powell. All the precincts are counted in that race.
The primary results are a sweeping victory for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. He was irritated by Moderate Republicans in the Upper Chamber. He blamed them for not fully implementing his tax cut program; blocking his plan to appoint some Kansas Judges; and a messy redistricting fight that had to be settled in federal court.
Brownback campaigned against some of his fellow Republicans.
Moderate Tim Owens of Overland Park accused Brownback of trying to take over all three branches of government.
Owens was one of the moderates who was defeated.
The widespread victories probably clears the way for Brownback to install the rest if his low-tax, small government agenda in the next two years of his term.
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity also campaigned against Moderate Republicans.
Thousands of dollars were spent on both sides of the butter campaign.
There is an open worry now that it may take some time to heal the split in the state GOP.
At the end of the night, Senators Owens, Dwayne Umbarger; Roger Reitz; Pete Baumgardt; Jean Schodorf; Dick Kelsey and Senate President Morris were all defeated by conservative challengers.
Only Majority Leader Jay Elmer cruises to an easy renomination. He collected 73% of the vote over Jesse Bryant.

Kansas Turnout Tied to Tight State Senate Races
August 7, 2012

(AP) – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says turnout in the state’s primary election varies based on whether a county has a hot state Senate race.

Kobach said Tuesday afternoon that it’s too early to tell whether turnout will exceed his prediction of 18 percent statewide. That’s a relatively low figure, and it would mean about 310,000 of the state’s 1.7 million registered voters casting ballots.

He said turnout at a Wyandotte County site he visited was steady but light. His reported that about 2,200 people had cast ballots in the county by noon.

In Topeka, reports from poll workers varied. In some polling places, workers thought turnout might exceed 30 percent. Turnout also was reported as being higher than anticipated in Park City, north of Wichita.