Although the state’s legislative boundaries are set and the candidates’ filing deadlines have passed, the contentious and confusing drama of the political season of 2012 isn’t over.
After a rush of filings to meet a Monday deadline, the Secretary of State’s Office has spent the last week verifying candidates’ paperwork and making sure everyone’s running in the district where they live.
But on Tuesday, the State Objections Board – Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt – will convene in Topeka to consider eight ballot eligibility challenges.
Elections were thrown into chaos when the state Legislature, locked in a bitter struggle between moderate and conservative Republicans, was unable to complete the once-every-10-year process of drawing new lines for the state’s 125 House districts, 40 Senate districts, 10 state school board districts and four congressional districts.
The confusion peaked after a three-judge federal court panel in Kansas City, Kan., handed down new district lines late the night of June 7. The new districts were in many cases vastly different from the old ones, and potential candidates had only 1½ business days to figure out where they were running and file their candidacy papers.
By the end of the process, 82 candidates – more than a fourth of those who filed – were shifted to districts different than the one in which they filed.
Seven candidates’ filings were ruled invalid, knocking six off the ballot and forcing one to stay on.
The changes in the past week included:
• Two prospective House candidates – former Lake Quivira Mayor Larry Meeker and Larry Joe Lambert in the north-central Kansas 109th District – were removed from the ballot after officials ruled they’d missed the noon Monday filing. Both are appealing the decision.
• Mark Holick, an outspoken conservative minister, was informed he’d missed the deadline to get his name off the ballot, according to secretary of state records. Holick, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, will appear with incumbent Rep. Joe Seiwert and real estate agent Jamey Blubaugh on the Republican primary ballot in the Goddard-based 101st District.
• Three judicial candidates and a Mitchell County Commission candidate were ruled to have failed to file on time or have their paperwork properly attested.
• Candidate Barbara Lynn Wells, a Derby-area Democrat, was transferred from the 80th House District race to the 81st District. That was good news for Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, who is now running unopposed. Not so good for Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, who appeared to be unopposed but now has an opponent in the Nov. 6 general election.
Wells said she filed to the wrong district number because election officials gave her incorrect information. Howell said he couldn’t get state or county election officials to confirm that’s what happened, but welcomed Wells to the race.
“I’m sure the voters of my district appreciate the opportunity to have a choice,” he said.
• Democratic candidate Matthew R. Collins of Wichita was moved off the ballot for the 86th House District to the 84th. That gets him out of being the third candidate in an incumbent-vs.-incumbent Democratic primary between Reps. Judith Loganbill and Jim Ward – but into a head-to-head primary against Rep. Gail Finney. The winner of the Aug. 7 primary in Wichita’s 86th District will face Republican John Stevens. The 84th District primary victor will face conservative Republican activist Dan Heflin in the general election.
• Republican Robin Salem Clements won state clearance to appear on the ballot in the Park City-based 91st House District, where she’ll face Rep. Gene Suellentrop in the August primary. The winner will face Democrat Katelyn A. Delvaux in November. Clements was granted a line on the ballot after it was determined an election official had caused a mistake in her filing document.