Politics & Government

Who's running for office in Kansas? Vermin Supreme and teenagers

Vermin Supreme, a political performance artist who travels the country, files for Kansas attorney general on Friday. He paid his filing fee with $100 bills.
Vermin Supreme, a political performance artist who travels the country, files for Kansas attorney general on Friday. He paid his filing fee with $100 bills. The Wichita Eagle

The slate of candidates for the Kansas primary election is set after a last-minute scramble to enter races before Friday’s deadline.

Now, all that’s left to do is campaign. And there are some interesting campaigns.

The House Democratic leader is facing a primary challenge. Attorney General Derek Schmidt will face a challenge from a Lawrence Democrat and a political performance artist called Vermin Supreme. And several teens filed to run for governor.

The primary election is August 7, leaving candidates a little more than two months to make their case to voters.

Here are a few highlights from the candidate filings:

Attorney general

Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt was only hours away from winning re-election unopposed, but then two candidates came forward.

First, Sarah Swain filed to run as a Democrat. Swain is a criminal defense attorney and has a Lawrence law office. Swain’s filing also means Democrats are running for every statewide executive office.

Less than a month ago, no Democrats had filed to run for insurance commissioner, state treasurer and attorney general. All three races now have Democratic candidates.

Second, Vermin Supreme – a traveling political performance artist – filed to run as a Republican.

Supreme walked into the Kansas secretary of state’s office to file wearing a boot on his head and quickly attracted onlookers and cameras. He paid his filing fee in $100 bills and said he would be the next attorney general of Kansas.

Teens still run for governor

In the end, three teen tickets ended up officially running for governor and lieutenant governor.

Jack Bergeson and Alexander Cline filed to run as Democrats for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. Bergeson and Cline are students at the Independent School in Wichita.

On the Republican side, Tyler Ruzich and Dominic Scavuzzo are running. Ruzich is from Prairie Village and Scavuzzo is from Leawood.

Joseph Tutera and Phillip Clemente are also running as Republicans. Tutera is from Mission Hills; Clemente is from Mission Woods.

A court order this week kept out-of-state candidates for governor out of the race. And after a wave of teen candidates, the Legislature changed the law so that during the next election cycle, no one under 25 will be able to run for governor.

Ward to face challenge

House Minority Leader Jim Ward is facing a primary opponent in District 86. Alexander Vulgamore has filed to run against the long-time Wichita Democrat.

Ward campaigned for governor for several months, before dropping out last month and deciding to run for re-election instead.

Weber bows out

Rep. Chuck Weber, a Republican in District 85 in Wichita, isn't running for re-election.

Weber was elected in early 2016 by members of a Republican precinct committee to fill a vacated House seat and then won the seat in November 2016. He is a former TV journalist.

Instead, Republican Michael Capps will face Democrat Monica Marks in the general election.

Winn is running

Jennifer Winn, an activist critical of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, is running for the House in District 100 as a Democrat.

Winn entered politics after her son, Kyler Carriker, was charged with murder in connection to the death of Ronald Betts. She has said her son was unjustly prosecuted; in 2015, Carriker was found not guilty by a Sedgwick County jury.

Winn ran as a Republican against then-Gov. Sam Brownback in 2014, and garnered about 37 percent of the vote.

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman