Politics & Government

Republicans give Arnold third term as state party chair

Kelly Arnold, left, takes the oath of office for Sedgwick County Clerk at the Sedgwick County Courthouse in January. Arnold won a third term as Republican state chairman at the party’s annual convention in Manhattan on Saturday.
Kelly Arnold, left, takes the oath of office for Sedgwick County Clerk at the Sedgwick County Courthouse in January. Arnold won a third term as Republican state chairman at the party’s annual convention in Manhattan on Saturday. File photo

Sedgwick County Clerk Kelly Arnold won a rare third term as Republican state chairman at the party’s annual convention in Manhattan, the party’s executive director said Saturday.

It is not unprecedented, but it is unusual for a person to serve three terms as party chairman, said Clay Barker, executive director of the party.

This year, with a crucial special election underway in the Wichita-based 4th Congressional District, party delegates decided it would be better to stay the course and not make big changes in leadership, Barker said.

On Thursday, the day before the Manhattan convention began, a Republican district committee picked Ron Estes, state treasurer and former Sedgwick County treasurer, as their candidate for the 4th District seat vacated when Rep. Mike Pompeo resigned to serve as CIA director under President Trump.

Barker said amid their own party meetings, south-central delegates tried to pay attention to the opposition in Wichita, where Democrats selected civil rights lawyer James Thompson as their candidate for the 4th District on Saturday.

“Some people were watching the basketball game and some people were watching the (Democrats) convention on their iPhones,” Barker said.

Arnold has been state chairman since 2013 and before that, he served as chairman of the Sedgwick County party from 2006-2010.

Also re-elected to party positions Saturday were Ashley McMillan Hutchinson, vice chair, and J.C. Anderson, treasurer. Hutchinson runs an economic development company in Cloud County, and Anderson was treasurer for Gov. Sam Brownback’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.

The only newcomer among the state party officers is Alana Roethle, secretary, a Leawood health care and marketing consultant and former candidate for the Blue Valley School District board, Barker said.

The keynote speech for the convention was delivered by Allen West, a former Florida congressman who is now a commentator for Fox News and other conservative-oriented media outlets.

West is an alumnus of Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

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