Kansas Lawmakers Meet for Leadership Votes Monday
December 1, 2014

(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.

Kansas House Speaker Draws Challenger
November 17, 2014

(AP) – A southeast Kansas lawmaker plans to challenge Ray Merrick as speaker of the Kansas House.

After the election, Rep. Virgil Peck sent letters to victorious Republican House candidates. The Tyro Republican informed them of his intention to stand for speaker when lawmakers come to Topeka on Dec. 1 to hold leadership elections.

He says lawmakers have a responsibility to choose leaders “whom we feel are best equipped to represent the core beliefs of Kansas citizens and our party’s philosophy of limited government.”

Merrick’s spokeswoman, Rachel Whitten, said, “Any legislator is welcome to run for whatever leadership office they choose.”

Peck has served in the Legislature since 2005 and currently serves as chair of the Transportation and Public Safety Budget Committee