Elections

Kansans vote Republican in state offices despite making Democrat Laura Kelly governor

Kris Kobach failed to win the governorship, but Kansans chose Republican Scott Schwab to succeed the controversial secretary of state, keeping alive an effort to require residents prove their citizenship when registering to vote.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Schwab of Olathe was leading a sweep of Republican victories in down-ballot statewide offices even as Democrat Laura Kelly defeated Kobach in the governor’s race.

As a Kansas lawmaker, Schwab had worked to reshape election law during Kobach’s term as secretary of state and has said he would pursue the appeal of the federal judge’s decision in the registration case.

Schwab told supporters Tuesday night that he would make sure county clerks would be able to “execute on elections in a way that you don’t have to worry about the (American Civil Liberties Union) ACLU trying to kick down your door anymore.”

In 2015, Schwab also had voted to give the secretary of state prosecution powers but said during a debate that “it didn’t produce the fruit we had hoped.” His opponent, Democrat Brian “BAM” McClendon of Lawrence also said he rejected prosecution powers for the office.

Schwab had defeated four Republican rivals in an Aug. 7 primary that fell on the second anniversary of his son Caleb’s death on the Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn.

Kansas Attorney General

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With his daughter and wife, Jennifer Schmidt, at his side, Republican Derek Schmidt, incumbent candidate for Kansas Attorney General, addressed the crowd Tuesday at a Johnson County Republican Party general election watch party in Overland Park. Tammy Ljungblad tljungblad@kcstar.com

Voters gave Derek Schmidt a third term as Kansas’ top law enforcement officer over Democrat Sarah G. Swain.

In office, Schmidt’s duties include defending the state’s public education funding that the Kansas Supreme Court has found to be inadequate. At one point last spring, he admonished lawmakers to complete work on a funding plan before adjourning.

Schmidt also had issued an official opinion in February that Kansas law prohibited the sale or possession of any product containing CBD, which is derived from marijuana, even when it does not contain THC that produces the high associated with marijuana use. It spurred the legislature to make CBD legal.

Swain’s poor showing at the polls grew in part out of a controversial poster in her Lawrence law office that showed a Wonder Woman character with a lasso around the neck of a law enforcement figure. The poster led Democratic officials to press Swain to end her campaign.

Kansas State Treasurer

Republican Jake LaTurner, appointed state treasurer last year by then-Gov. Sam Brownback, won election to the office by defeating state Senator Marci Francisco, a Democrat from Lawrence.

LaTurner had heavily outspent his opponent, Lawrence Democrat Marci Francisco, based on election records at the end of October.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner

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State Sen. Vicki Schmidt will move from the Kansas Senate to become Kansas Insurance Commissioner. The Star

Republican Vicki Schmidt is moving from the state senate, where she chairs the Public Health and Welfare committee, to serve as Kansas Insurance Commissioner. The Topeka pharmacist favors expanding Medicaid in Kansas and has been a moderate in the senate.

Schmidt has said she would recruit more insurance companies to do business in Kansas, expecting additional competition to improve consumers’ options. She defeated Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin.

The Star’s Katy Bergen contributed to this story.

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