By Travis Mounts
Tuesday is the Primary Election, and while there aren’t a lot of decisions to be made, there are several key races that will be impacted by voters next week.
The race for U.S. Fourth Congressional District may be the biggest in south central Kansas. It features current incumbent Mike Pompeo (R-Wichita) against the man he replaced, Todd Tiahrt (R-Goddard). Tiahrt gave up his House seat four years ago to run for the U.S. Senate, but he lost in the Primary to Jerry Moran in the race to replace Sam Brownback, who left the Senate to become governor.
Locally, there are two contested races for the Kansas House of Representatives.
In the 93rd District, first-term incumbent Joe Edwards (R-Haysville) is being challenged by John Whitmer (R-Wichita). See related story for more on this race. The winner will take on Sammy K. Flaharty, a Garden Plain Democrat. Edwards defeated Flaharty and Independent Dan Thimesch in 2010 in a district that was left open following redistricting.
The 93rd District covers Haysville south of Grand Avenue and the rural areas primarily south and west of the city, parts of south Wichita, and most of southwestern Sedgwick County including Clearwater, Viola and Cheney.
And in a rarity in Kansas, there is a Democratic primary. Two people are battling for the right to face Steven Anthimides in the 98th District in November. Anthimides was appointed to replace Phil Hermanson, who resigned in October.
Haysville teacher and city council member Steve Crum if facing off against Eric Bell, who works for an oil and gas distributor and is involved with various City of Wichita governmental bodies.
As for Brownback, he finds himself in a surprisingly tough race in a state that swept out moderates and gave conservatives control of both chambers of the Statehouse just two years ago. Brownback is expected to easily defeat Primary challenger Jennifer Winn, a Haysville business owner. Instead, the focus is on Democrat Paul Davis of Lawrence and the general election.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach has a Primary challenger in Scott Morgan, and five Republicans are fighting to replace outgoing Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.
And plenty of people want to replace U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, who is seeking another term. Milton Wolf is top Republican challenger, although D.J. Smith and Alvin E. Zahnter are also on the GOP ticket. Chad Taylor and Patrick Wiesner are battling in the Democratic Primary.
Advance voting already is under way. You can vote at the Election Office in downtown Wichita 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Monday. Be sure to bring a photo I.D. Advance sites will be open noon to 7 p.m. this Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, but not Monday. Sites include the Haysville Activity Center, the Machinits Building at 3830 S. Meridian, and Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Derby. A full list can be found online at www.sedgwickcounty.org.
Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.