In Kansas, rejecting left-wing Republicans


The headline in the Kansas City Star reads “Voters reject middle ground in Kansas Senate races.” A more accurate conclusion is that voters have realized that the governance of Kansas by a coalition of Democrats and left-wing Republicans has not been in the state’s best interest. Stagnate job growth as compared to other states, increasing spending on schools with no accountability and not even an honest discussion of achievement, falling behind other states in school reform and school choice, a highly undemocratic method of selecting our state’s top judges, resistance to privatization and other measures to streamline government, business tax costs topped by only a few other states: these are some of the results of this coalition.

But yesterday, Kansas voters said goodbye to many of the left-wing Republicans — the so-called “moderates” or “traditional Republicans” — and nominated conservatives in their place. Some nominees face Democratic challengers in November.

The results are a surprise not only for the number of victories by conservatives, but the margin of victory. In Johnson County, incumbent Senator Tim Owens was defeated 60 to 40. Owens ranked at the bottom of all senators — Democrats included — in the Kansas Economic Freedom Index.

In a neighboring district, incumbent Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook won her primary election by a 64 to 36 margin. Pilcher-Cook ranked at the top of the Kansas Economic Freedom index. Conservative Steve Abrams, who ranked well in the KEFI, also defeated a challenger.

Another notable result is the defeat of Senate President Steve Morris.

Other defeats of moderates, some being incumbents, include Jeff Melcher over Pat Colloton to replace John Vratil, Jacob LaTurner over Bob Marshall, Forrest Knox over John Grange, Jeff King over Dwayne Umbarger, Greg Smith over Joe Beveridge, Bob Reader over Roger Reitz, Tom Arpke over Pete Brungardt, Michael O’Donnell over Jean Schodorf, Mitch Holmes over Ruth Teichmann, and Dan Kerschen over Dick Kelsey. Kelsey will dispute being lumped in the moderate camp, but on economic freedom issues, he ranked just barely above neutral.

There were some victories for the moderates. Kay Wolf won the primary to replace Terrie Huntington, which is a retention for moderates. In Topeka, moderate Vicki Schmidt retains a place in the Senate, as does Carolyn McGinn in south-central Kansas. Pat Apple defeated a challenge from Charlotte O’Hara. Apple ranks barely above neutral in the KEFI, while O’Hara, in the Kansas House, was near the top. Jeff Longbine survived a challenge from conservative James Fawcett.

Commenting on the results, Americans for Prosperity–Kansas state director Derrick Sontag said “The primary results make one thing clear: Kansans support those who promote fiscally conservative, limited government, free market policies. Fiscal conservatives are now being elected because of the policies that have failed our state for years. This new field of candidates vying for office reflects a continued desire to put a stop to the rampant state spending and high tax burdens of the past. It is evident from the results at the ballot box that Kansans want a reasonable, responsible government and we are optimistic that our state is now starting to head down the path toward prosperity and a strong Kansas economy.”

In local races in south-central Kansas, voters rejected the challenge by left-wing Republican Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell to incumbent Karl Peterjohn. Longwell had the endorsement of Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and all Wichita City Council members except Michael O’Donnell (district 4, south and southwest Wichita). Three Sedgwick County Commission members endorsed Longwell, too. As there is no Democratic contestant, this race is over.

In suburban Andover, voters rejected a proposed property tax increase for schools. Update: After the final canvass of votes, the tax increase passed by two votes.


14 responses to “In Kansas, rejecting left-wing Republicans”

  1. This is Glorious

    How do you beat that? We didn’t JUST get rid of moderates and replace them with conservatives. It is inestimable what depth of damage these people have cost the State and the taxpayers. They maintained the status quo and prevented growth or real change for years upon years. No more Vratil, Morris, Umbarger, Owens, Teichmann and Schodorf is SUCH a breath of fresh air. Now, the test will be in leadership and followership. Can we take advantage of this unique and momentous chance to return power to the people and make Kansas a place of thriving economic opportunity?

  2. smartin

    They should have called themselves Dems. Then we would be down to two kinds of Reps., fiscal conservatives and far right religious. I’m in the fiscal conservative camp. Leave to God what is Gods domain. I’m about stopping fraud and waste and streamlining and downsizing. First thing is to get pharma and insurance interests OUT of our KDHE, and other agencies!

  3. sue c.


    Overall I am very happy. You listed some of the disappointments, like Charlotte. Hopefully we will see her run again soon. She is a great lady.

  4. Fred

    Look across the state senate results, and it seems that moderates all hit a wall at about 40-43%. Conventional wisdom has been that mods are about 1/3 of the GOP electorate. This was a high-profile cycle, so the mods were getting their people to the polls. But, this clearly suggests that moderates are 33-43% of the GOP. Now that they’ve completely been swept away from electoral office, where will that 33-43% of the GOP go? If the conservatives don’t bring them back into the fold, they’ll go straight to the Dems. The catch-22 for Kansas conservatives is that they hate the RINOS, but can’t maintain a majority coalition without them. Ask Phill Kline or Tim Shallenburger what it’s like to be on general election ballot without any moderate GOP support.

  5. toldyaso

    Jeff is quoted in brand X newspaper, if they think I’m on the take, say I’m on the take…hey Jeff, you are on the take.
    I’d like to say a special goodby to Brungardt and Reitz.
    Bob; Great coverage and articles on the real story. I hope you get a half million hits. The public MUST be informed.

    Official City online news?

  6. Ann H.

    The State Board of Education district 8 race was also a loss for those of us who want to defeat the Progressive Education Establishment wing. Chappell’s loss there was a big disappointment for me, as was O’Hara’s loss.

    Still, there was plenty to celebrate for sure. I was SHOCKED (in a good way) that Morris lost. And being from Wichita, Schodorf’s loss made my day.

    I guess we will all find out in November whether we can retain these seats against the Democrats, with the redistricting having changed so much. We have a lot more work to do!

  7. I am happy to report to the shallow Kansas intellects on this board and soon commanding the upcoming legislature supporting Art Laffer’s “revolution in a cornfield.”

    Look ye at the cornfields, drought ridden and still born this be your future:

    “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” – Aristotle

  8. Cliff

    This appears to me a waste of taxpayers money. Why not just have a Republican caucus? I am Independent so i wasn’t allowed to vote for or against anyone. I also didn’t have to waste my time standing in line. It boiled down, this year, that if you weren’t Republican, you weren’t allowed to vote……… a shade of illegal, in my opinion.

  9. Bob Bowser

    The real issue here can be grossly misstated by the analogy of keeping between two ditches while driving… the left claioms we are veering off to the far right, while those of us who understand The Constitution realize that in 1797 it was a middle-of-the-road compromise. On that premise, all compromise since that date has moved us ever-so-close to the soft shoulder on the left and we are precariously near going off into the ditch. In order to move back to the middle, we MUST move right.

  10. Ha!

    We’re going to have so much fun experimenting with how to come out from under that multi-billion-dollar tax gift/deficit boulder Brownback and his Koch puppets are going to hand us! Woo-hoo, indeed!

  11. Heat

    People in the middle on every issue have no principles. People respect those who are either to the right or to the left as long as they have principles. Morality and accountability play a large role in a principled individual. People can compromised on the numbers, but never on principle unless you want to sell your soul to the devil.

  12. […] Bob Weeks reports from Kansas, which just held its primary on Tuesday, where 18 incumbents were defeated: But yesterday, Kansas voters said goodbye to many of the left-wing Republicans — the so-called “moderates” or “traditional Republicans” — and nominated conservatives in their place. Some nominees face Democratic challengers in November. […]

  13. Fred

    Rubbish. You don’t have to be extreme to be principled. In fact, I question the character of those attracted to fringe ideologies.

  14. If it can be maintained until the general election, Kansas will be one of the best states live in. Bet on it.

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