Kansas Republicans just had a clean-sweep election in 2014. But they’re already preparing for 2016, when in addition to the presidential race U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and members of the Kansas Senate and House will be up for re-election.
Moran signs abounded at the party’s annual convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka on Friday. On Saturday, Moran will have a reception featuring U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who recently delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union.
“My sense is that Jerry Moran is working already hard to win,” said Clay Barker, the party’s executive director. “He’s got his campaign down. He’s going to be opening one or two offices. You know he’s all over the state – which he does anyway. He’s listening for anyone who wants run against him. He’s got a short list of people he’s looking at.”
A few Republicans are focused on an election that will be happening much sooner. Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, who was wearing a bright red suit jacket, was busy greeting his colleagues. Dove is vying to replace Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, as House majority whip. Ryckman stepped down this week to focus on his duties as House Appropriations Chair.
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“It’s great timing for me,” Dove said about the convention. “I get to see some of my colleagues and answer some of their questions and see what they’re looking for.”
Republicans have 97 members in the House, and the whip’s job is to build consensus. Dove said he wants the Republican caucus, which at times is bitterly divided between conservatives and moderates, to realize that the things members have in common outweigh their differences in opinion.