Feb. 2, 2017 — The state of Kansas is heading for a period of major political upheaval both in the state house and within their congressional delegation.
In addition to CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s vacant 4th District being slated for an April 11 special election, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) has already announced that she will not seek re-election in the 2nd District.
With Jenkins not only leaving Congress but bypassing a chance to enter an open governor’s race – a contest most observers expected her to enter in 2018 – 3rd District Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park/Kansas City) is now reported to be seriously considering becoming a gubernatorial candidate. Should he make the jump into the statewide foray, his 3rd District will also be open in the next election.
Turning to the sprawling western 1st District where freshman Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend/Salina) will stand for his first re-election, the man he unseated in the 2016 Republican primary has already announced that he will return for a re-match. But, former Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate in the Jenkins’ open seat, potentially jumping districts and hoping to stake out a Tea Party base in what promises to be a crowded primary. Kansas has no run-off, so a person with a strong ideological or geographic base can often win a multi-candidate primary election with only a small plurality. Such is how Huelskamp originally won his 1st District nomination back in 2010.
Freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford), a Tea Party favorite tabbed as an “accidental congressman” when he was elected in 2012 – after then-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) was disqualified from the ballot – lost his bid for renomination last night, as predicted. Attorney David Trott, brandishing endorsements from virtually all key state Republican leaders and overwhelming the incumbent in fundraising, won a huge 66-34 percent win in the 11th District that ended Bentivolio’s ill-conceived congressional career. Trott now faces former State Department official Bobby McKenzie, who barely won (671 vote margin) the Democratic primary against three opponents. Trott is the clear favorite to carry the open seat in November.
In the other incumbent challenge, controversial Tea Party-backed Rep. Justin Continue reading >
The sprawling Kansas 1st Congressional District, which consumes all of the western part of the state and stretches almost all the way to Topeka, could be the scene of an upset in tonight’s Republican primary according to some local political observers. Two-term Rep. Tim Huelskamp is being challenged by former school superintendent Alan LaPolice.
Though the challenger had only raised $137,000 through the June 30 financial disclosure deadline, the local farm groups and many in the solar wind energy industry are actively involved in trying to unseat the incumbent. Huelskamp, the victim of Speaker John Boehner’s show of party discipline in the former’s freshman year, was removed from the Agriculture Committee. The action left the region uncovered on the panel, something unheard of for a representative from this agriculture dominated district.
Huelskamp has been one of the vocal members of the Tea Party caucus openly critical of the GOP leadership. Whether he is toppled tonight remains to be seen, and the congressman is still the favorite to win, but it does add another bit of intrigue into what will already be an exciting night most specifically in Kansas and Michigan. Continue reading >