While the overall party affiliation of the Senate will remain unchanged (32 Republicans and 8 Democrats), the primary elections resulted in a significantly more conservative Republican majority. Despite offsetting wins & losses by the Democrats (they lost two incumbents, but defeated one Republican incumbent and won an open seat) the outcome of the election ensures a complete turnover in the leadership and committee chairs of the 2013 Kansas Senate.
The Senate will have 16 new members but many of them are not new names to the Kansas Legislature, 12 of these newcomers having served previously in the House of Representatives.
In the Kansas Senate, two incumbents were unseated by their general election challengers:
– Kelly Kultala (D-Kansas City), Ranking minority on the Transportation and Utilities committees, was defeated by Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth), a military analyst and consultant.
– Chris Steineger (R-Kansas City), was defeated by Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City), a retired teacher and former member of the Kansas House of Representatives.
– Allen Schmidt (D-Hays), Ranking minority on the Financial Institutions and Insurance committee, was defeated by fellow incumbent Ralph Ostmeyer (R-Grinnell). The two were pitted together in the same district as a result of redistricting that shifted combined two western Kansas districts and shifted a new Senate seat to Johnson County.
– Dist. 6: Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City; 1993-96)
– Dist. 7: Kay Wolf (R-Prairie Village; 2007-Present)
– Dist. 8: Jim Denning (R-Overland Park; 2011-Present)
– Dist. 12: Caryn Tyson (R-Parker; 2011- Present)
– Dist. 14: Forrest Knox (R-Altoona; 2005- Present)
– Dist. 21: Greg Smith (R-Overland Park; 2011- Present)
– Dist. 22: Tom Hawk (D-Manhattan; 2005-10)
– Dist. 24: Tom Arpke (R-Salina; 2011- Present)
– Dist. 26: Dan Kerschen (R-Garden Plain; 2009- Present)
– Dist. 33: Mitch Holmes (R-St. John; 2005- Present)
– Dist. 36: Elaine Bowers (R-Concordia; 2007- Present)
– Dist. 39: Larry Powell (R-Garden City; 2001- Present
Similarly, the numbers in the Kansas House did not change; it remains 92 Republican members and 33 Democrat members. Though the numbers did not change, the membership certainly did. Going into Election Day there were 47 districts in which no incumbent was on the ballot. There will be 54 new Representatives with six of these having previously served in the Kansas House.
There are still a handful of races in which there is likely to be a recount as the margin in most is fewer than 50 votes. There were five races in which there was a Republican and Democrat incumbent running against each other due to reapportionment of the districts in June by the Federal Courts. The Democrats won three of those races with one race still pending with a margin of only 27 votes.
There were six incumbents defeated last night, four Democrats and two Republicans.
– Bill Feuerborn (D-Garnett), Ranking minority member on the Appropriations committee was defeated by Kevin Jones (R-Wellsville).
– Sean Gatewood (D-Topeka), Ranking minority member on the Children and Families committee was defeated by Joshua Powell (R-Topeka)
– Ann Mah (D-Topeka), Ranking minority member on Local Government and Elections committees was defeated by Ken Corbet (R-Topeka)
– Eber Phelps (D-Hays), Minority Whip was defeated by Sue Boldra (R-Hays)
– Benny Boman (R-Wichita) was defeated by former Representative Tom Sawyer (D-Wichita)
– Joe Scapa (R-Wichita) was defeated by Patricia Sloop (D-Wichita)
Due to redistricting, there were five general elections that pitted two current House members against each other.
– Melanie Meier (D-Leavenworth) defeated Jana Goodman (R- Leavenworth)
– Annie Tietze (D-Topeka) defeated Mike Burgess (R-Topeka)
– Nile Dillmore (D-Wichita) defeated Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita)
– Phil Hermanson (R-Wichita) defeated Geraldine Flaharty (D-Wichita)
– Kyle Hoffman (R-Coldwater) defeated Vince Wetta (D-Wellington)
– Julie Menghini (D-Pittsburg), served from 2005-2010
– Ed Bideau (R-Chanute), served from 1985-1988
– Larry Campbell (R-Olathe), served from 1997-2004
– Ray Merrick (R-Stilwell), served from 2001-2011 & served in the Senate in 2012
– Tom Sawyer (D-Wichita), served from 1987-1998 & 2003-2009
– John Edmonds (R-Great Bend), served from 1995-2006
Now that we are finished with the general election, attention turns to December 3. On that day, both parties select leaders for the next term of office.
In the Senate, Republicans will select a new President, Vice President, Majority leader and a few other leadership positions. House Republicans will select a new Speaker, Speaker Pro Tem and Majority Leader plus a handful of other leadership positions. In both the Senate and the House, the President and the Speaker and the Vice President and the Speaker Pro Tem, although nominated by the majority caucus, must be elected by their full bodies in January. All other leadership decisions are chosen solely by their respective caucus.
House and Senate Democrats will also elect its leadership in December as well.
For leadership candidates a great deal of campaigning will take place in November. Senate leadership will change from moderate to conservative control based on the election of a large number of conservative candidates in the August primary. At this time, candidates declaring for Senate President include; Steve Abrams (Arkansas City), and Susan Wagle (Wichita). For Vice President we believe there are currently three candidates; Les Donovan (Wichita), Jeff King (Independence) and Julia Lynn (Olathe). For Majority Leader Terry Bruce (Hutchinson) is the only announced candidate.
With the retirement of House Speaker, Mike O’Neal and the decision of House Majority Leader Arlen Seigfried to run for Speaker, new leadership at every position is assured in the House as well. Candidates for Speaker include Seigfried (Olathe), Ray Merrick (Stilwell) and Lance Kinzer (Olathe). Speaker Pro Tem candidates include Steve Brunk (Wichita), Peggy Mast (Emporia) and Richard Proehl (Parsons). Majority leader candidates include Marc Rhoades (Newton) and the current Speaker Pro Tem Jene Vickrey (Louisburg).
For the Democrats, it is anticipated that both current minority leaders, Senator Anthony Hensley (Topeka) and Rep. Paul Davis (Lawrence) will seek to serve another term.
The selection of committee chairs, vice chairs and ranking minority members will be announced following the leadership elections on December 3, probably before Christmas, and full committee membership will be announced shortly after the first of the year.
The 2013 legislative session is set to begin Monday, January 14.