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2018 General Election Preview

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

With the Primary challenges behind us we can now focus our attention on November and the general election. Kansans will head to the polls to select four congressional seats, all statewide offices, 125 House races and 1 Kansas Senate seat. Nearly half of all House races are uncontested (62 total, 37 Republicans and 25 Democrats). The lone Kansas Senate seat is a three-way affair with Senator Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena) facing off against Bryan Hoffman (D-Mulberry) and San Habjan (L-Frontenac).

Congressional Races

1st District - Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) will face off against Alan LaPolice (D-Clyde). This is a rematch from 2016 when Marshall bested LaPolice 65%-26%.

2nd District – This is an open seat since Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins is stepping down. GOP-endorsed candidate Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) faces off against Paul Davis (D- Lawrence). Pollsters have listed this race as a toss up. See; See also;

3rd District – Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) is being challenged by Sharice Davids (D-Kansas City). Many also see this race as very close.

4th District – Congressman Ron Estes (R-Wichita) will face Wichita lawyer James Thompson (D-Andover). This is a rematch from the 2017 special election where the Estes beat Thompson 52%-46%.

Statewide Races

Governor/Lt. Governor

This is a crowded race featuring five tickets. The GOP ticket of Kris Kobach/Wink Hartman vs. Democrats Laura Kelly/Lynn Rodgers vs. Independents Greg Orman/John Doll. Also, in the mix but getting very little air time are Richard and Nathaniel Kloos (I-Topeka) and Jeff Caldwell/Mary Gerlt (L-Leawood). This will be the most watched race of the season.

Secretary of State

After surviving a five-way race in the primary Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) will face political newcomer and Google Earth designer Brian “BAM” McClendon (D-Lawrence).

Kansas Attorney General

KSAG Derek Schmidt (R-Independence) looks to wrap up another four-year term when he faces off against Lawrence attorney Sarah Swain (D-Lawrence).

Kansas State Treasurer

Jake LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) will defend his seat against Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence). Both served in the Kansas Senate together.



Kansas Commissioner of Insurance

This is an open seat since current Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer ran for governor in the Republican primary and lost. State Senator Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) goes up against Nathaniel McLaughlin (D-Kansas City).

Lawyers in the Legislator

Last session there were 18 legislators with legal training. Going into the 2018 General Election (by my count) only 16 are running for office. Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) is not up for reelection. Rep. Erin Davis decided not to seek reelection and Rep. Steven Becker (R-Buhler) lost a very close primary race to Paul Waggoner. The margin was just 5 votes.

Five Lawyer/Legislators are in uncontested races this November.

They are:

Rep.  Dennis “Boog” Highberger (D-Lawrence: HD 54);

Rep.  Vic “T-Bone” Miller (D-Topeka: HD 58);

Rep.  John Carmichael (D-Wichita: HD 92);

Rep. Leonard Mastroni (R-La Crosse: HB 117);

Rep.  Bradley Ralph (R-Dodge City: HD 119).

Eight Lawyer/Legislators are incumbents with challengers this fall. They include:

Rep. John Barker (R-Abilene: HD 70);

Rep. Jesse Burris (R-Mulvane: HD 82);

Rep. Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa: HD 59);

Rep. Tim Hodge (D-North Newton): HD 72);

Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita: HD 99);

Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka: HD 50);

Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita: HD 86); and;

Rep. John Wheeler (R- Garden City: HD 123)

Three lawyers are in the general election. They include:

Mark Samsel (R-Wellsville). Mark is an attorney with Lathrop & Gage and a 2010 KU Law grad. He challenges Lassey Murphy (D-Lane) for the open seat in House District 5 vacated by Kevin Jones.

Kellie Warren (R-Leawood) defeated Rep. Joy Koesten in the August primary and now takes on Brian Clausen (D- Leawood) for the 28th House District. Warren has degree from Cornell and is a KU Law grad. She practices real estate law.

James Todd (R-Overland Park) is a former legislator (2013-2016) who is challenging Rep. Brett Parker (D- Overland Park) in House District 29. James is a KU Law Grad. This is a rematch from 2016 when Parker defeated Todd 52%/47%.

Closing Thoughts.

After reviewing the primary results, it appears Kansas has moved to the right just a bit with several moderate freshman having lost primary races. There is a question of how well many democrats will do in the general election given the national political climate. But the main event remains the governor’s race, the outcome of which will have a huge impact going into 2019.

Tags:  election 

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