By Paul Rhodes
Former Kansas House Rep. Dan Thimesch will try in November to win back the legislative seat in Topeka he gave up eight years ago.
Thimesch, a five-term representative of the 93rd Kansas House District, announced Monday he will throw his hat in the ring for the November election. Thimesch made the decision to run following a massive shift in election maps that was announced two weeks ago.
The new election maps were drawn up by a three-judge federal panel, and is bringing big changes to western Sedgwick County. With the ensuing chaos, which left the 93rd District without an incumbent and Thimesch still in the district, the former legislator decided to enter the race.
“I am really disappointed that there’s no more compromise in Topeka,” said Thimesch. He said his frustrations with both parties led him to change his affiliation from Democrat to Independent, and he will be running as an Independent in the November election.
“I think it’s very possible I could be the first Independent legislator in Topeka since the 1940s,” said Thimesch.
Thimesch had a busy and productive decade in the Kansas House of Representatives. He helped draft legislation that aided Gulf War veterans with their medical issues, fought for township rights that were threatened by Sedgwick County, helped change legislation to allow more charter schools in Kansas, and worked to tighten handicap accessibility requirements on housing that receives grant money or other public funding.
While in Topeka, Thimesch served on a number of House committees, including Agriculture, Education, Transportation, Environment, Budget and Post Audit.
The 93rd District had major boundary shifts that moved Garden Plain and Goddard out of the district, and put Clearwater in the district. Those boundary shifts put 93rd District incumbent Dan Kerschen (R-Garden Plain) in the 101st District. Kerschen chose not to run against 101st incumbent Joe Seiwert (R-Pretty Prairie) and instead will challenge Republican incumbent Dick Kelsey for his 26th District Senate seat.
Three other candidates have announced they will seek the 93rd District House seat. They are Democrats Sammy Flaharty of Garden Plain and Pamela Frieden of Haysville, and Republican George “Joe” Edwards II of Haysville. Flaharty and Frieden will square off in the Aug. 7 Primary Election.
Thimesch said he was approached by several supporters who urged him to run for the open House seat.
“They want me to run for lots of reasons,” said Thimesch. Now, a petition campaign is being carried out by 14 volunteers so that Thimesch can file for office by petition prior to the General Election deadline.
Thimesch left the House of Representatives eight years ago to run for the 26th District Senate seat, which at the time was held by Phil Journey. Thimesch lost that election, got out of politics, and has concentrated on his construction business since then. He said he’s ready to represent the area again in Topeka.
“I always felt like the job of a legislator was to represent the people, and their wishes for the state,” he said. “And that’s exactly what I would do.”