Republican races are heating up

By Travis Mounts

Two Republican incumbents will face challengers in the August primary.

In the 4th Congressional District, Republican incumbent Mike Pompeo of Wichita will be challenged by the man he replaced, Todd Tiahrt of Goddard.

In the Kansas 93rd House District, incumbent George “Joe” Edwards, Jr., will face off against John Whitmer of west Wichita.

Pompeo first won the seat in 2010, beating out a crowded field of Republicans and then easily winning the general election. The U.S. House seat came open in 2010 after Tiahrt decided to run for Sam Brownback’s open U.S. Senate seat. Jerry Moran beat Tiahrt in the primary, and Brownback was elected as Kansas governor.

The 93rd House District came open two years ago after a federal court redrew both the Kansas House and Senate districts. The court decision came after the House and Senate failed to approve new districts after the 2010 census.

The new district lines left then Rep. Dan Kerschen – the incumbent in the 93rd District – outside of the district and inside of the new 101st House District, where he would have been forced to run against his friend Joe Seiwert (R-Pretty Prairie). Instead, Kerschen (R-Garden Plain) successfully ousted incumbent Dick Kelsey (R-Goddard) for the 26th Senate seat as part of a statewide effort that saw moderates and others purged in favor of conservatives more loyal to Brownback.

The decision came just three days before the filing deadline. Edwards (R-Haysville) beat fellow Republican Carl Koster of Cheney in the primary and then beat a Democratic and Independent challenger in the general election.

The 93rd House District covers much of southwest and southern Sedgwick County, including Cheney, Clearwater, the area just south of Goddard, Viola, and the southern part of Haysville.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Sam Brownback will face Jennifer Winn of Haysville. Paul Davis of Lawrence is the Democratic challenger.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach also has a primary challenger in Scott Morgan of Lawrence. The Democrat in the race is Jean Schodorf of Wichita, a former moderate Republican who changed parties after losing her Senate seat two years ago when the conservative wing executed a successful takeover of the Senate, which often was controlled by moderate Republicans in conjunction with Democrats.

The Attorney General and State Treasurer races have one Republican and one Democrat, and five Republicans and a Democrat are seeking the Commissioner of Insurance seat being vacated by Sandy Praeger.