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Legislative Race Recap: Contested Races for Vast Majority of Legislative Seats in Central Kansas Region


By Lucky Kidd

CENTRAL KANSAS — There will be contested races for the vast majority of legislative seats in the central Kansas region. As the filing deadline passed at noon Monday, Republican primary elections were assured for two open Kansas Senate seats and officially for three seats in the Kansas House of Representatives.

In the 33rd Senate District, which includes Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Ellsworth, Kiowa, Ness, Pratt, Pawnee, Rice, Rush, Russell and Stafford counties, there will be a Republican primary involving State Representative Tory Marie Blew of Great Bend and John Strurn of Ellinwood, the winner to face Democrat Matthew Westenfeld of Lyons. Incumbent Alicia Straub of Ellinwood did not seek re-election.

In the 34th District of Reno, Kingman and Barber Counties where Incumbent Senator Mark Steffen of Hutchinson did not seek re-election, Shauna Henry of rural Cheney filed as a Democrat Monday. Henry will face the winner of the Republican Primary between State Representative Michael Murphy of Sylvia and Bob Fee of Hutchinson.

Two other Kansas Senate seats will be contested in November. In the 24th District that includes Saline and Dickinson counties incumbent Republican J. R. Claeys of Salina will face Democrat John Baker of Salina. In the 31st District which includes all of Harvey County and most of northern Sedgwick County including Bentley, Kechi, Mount Hope, Park City, Valley Center and northwest Wichita Republican State Representative Stephen Owens of Hesston will face Democrat Jason Miller of Newton. The winner of that race will succeed retiring Senator Carolyn McGinn of Sedgwick.

Two of the area races for which Republican primaries are requested are in Reno County. In the 102nd District, mostly all in the city of Hutchinson, Tyson Thrall and Kyler Sweely seek to challenge incumbent Jason Probst, the western-most Democrat in the Kansas Legislature. There’s also a primary in the 114th District which includes most of rural Reno County excluding the Buhler, Haven and Pretty Prairie areas. Seeking to succeed Representative Michael Murphy, who is running for Senate, is Steve Schweizer of Plevna and Kevin Schwerdtfeger of Turon. No democrat filed in that district.

In the 114th District, which includes most of northern Hutchinson, northeast Reno County including Buhler, and the Inman area in McPherson County Republican incumbent Paul Waggoner of Hutchinson will face Democrat Lynette Krieger-Zook of Buhler.

In the 113rd district, which includes Rice, Rush and Stafford Counties plus parts of Barton and Pawnee Counties including Ellinwood and Larned, Incumbent Republican Brett Fairchild of St. John will face Democrat Jo Ann Roth of Ellinwood. Vying to replace Representative Tory Marie Blew, also a Senate Candidate, is Republican Sherri Brantley of Hoisington and Democrat Mark Rondeau of Great Bend.

One house seat in the area will have two candidates on the Republican primary ballot in August, although that wasn’t planned. State Senator Rick Wilborn of McPherson, who is leaving the Senate at the end of his term, filed Monday for the 73rd House District including most of McPherson County. Incumbent Representative Les Mason, who had filed for re-election, was taken seriously ill Friday. No Democrat is on the ballot for this district, a candidate who filed earlier withdrew prior to the deadline.

In the 74th District, which includes western and northern Harvey County, the Canton and Moundridge area in McPherson County, and the Hillsboro, Goessel and Peabody area in Harvey County, Republican Mike King of Hesston and Democrat Jenna Ratzlaff of North Newton seek to replace Representative Stephen Owens who is running for Senate. 72nd District Republican incumbent Avery Anderson is being opposed by Democrat Heidi Hoskinson, both of Newton.

In the 69th District, which includes southern Saline County and most of southern and western Salina, Republican Incumbent Clarke Sanders of Salina faces Democrat Lori Blake of Assaria.

In the 107th District, which includes northwest Saline County including a small part of west and north Salia extending into Ottawa, Cloud and Mitchell Counties, Dawn Wolf of Bennington is running against Gerald Johnson of Glasco in the Republican primary, where incumbent Representative Susan Concannon of Beloit withdrew from the race. No Democrat filed for that district