Kansas voters have heard plenty from the candidates over the past few months, especially in the contentious U.S. Senate and 4th Congressional District primary contests. On Tuesday, the candidates are due to hear from voters.
That will come as a relief. It also will make history.
This has been nothing like the sleepy August primaries that Kansas is known for and some candidates count on.
First Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., opted to keep his two-term promise and run for governor. That set off a chain reaction that has rocked the state’s GOP politics.
Reps. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and Jerry Moran, R-Hays, each decided to make a play for the open Senate seat, casting aside Ronald Reagan’s admonition against speaking ill of a fellow Republican and triggering crowded primaries to replace them.
Most Kansans had never seen anything like either the campaign spending or bad-mouthing that ensued, including the jarring spectacle of two sitting GOP congressmen going at each other with no trace of respect or collegiality. The negativity was amplified by most of the GOP congressional candidates’ shared hostility for all things Democratic and Washington, D.C. One candidate’s TV ad even assured voters he’d “stick it to Pelosi and Obama” — as if that’s any way to refer to any House speaker and president.
It’s been decades since Kansas has seen the suspense of this year’s GOP primaries for a U.S. Senate seat or in the 1st and 4th congressional districts. The Kansas Secretary of State’s Office, Sedgwick County Commission and the local legislative delegation also are having defining primaries. Democratic voters will even have multiple primary choices to make — a rarity in our red state.
Voters still in need of guidance should start with The Eagle’s online voter guide at Kansas.com. It’s an excellent mix-and-match database with information about candidates for everything from precinct committeeman to Congress, laying out qualifications and views on an array of timely issues.
And after meeting with more than 40 candidates, The Eagle editorial board recently stated its preferences for the primary. We restate them below for quick reference, but the full endorsements are available at Kansas.com/opinion.
As always, the endorsements that matter most will be made by voters and tallied Tuesday night. Vote and be heard.
Eagle editorial board primary endorsements
Republican: Jerry Moran
Democrat: David Haley
Republican: Jean Schodorf
Democrat: Raj Goyle
Republican: Jim Barnett
Republican: Sam Brownback
Secretary of state
Republican: Elizabeth "Libby" Ensley
Democrat: Chris Biggs
Republican: Derek Schmidt
Republican: Sandy Praeger
State Board of Education
Republican: Ken Willard
Sedgwick County Commission
Democrat: Betty Arnold
Republican: Lucy Burtnett
Democrat: Sharon Fearey
Republican: Chuck Warren
Republican: Jim Howell
Republican: Jo Ann Pottorff
Democrat: Gail Finney
Republican: Roy "Coach" Oeser
Republican: Phil Hermanson