For this year’s primary election, I did not go to the polling place on Tuesday. Because of a COVID-related quarantine, I elected to receive a mail-in advance ballot. I mailed the ballot in on August 1st.
There were only two contested races on my primary ballot. Both of the contested races were won by my preferred candidate.
U. S. Senate
There were numerous candidates for the Senate seat being vacated by Pat Roberts. The three most notable candidates were Kris Kobach, Roger Marshall, and Bob Hamilton.
I have never supported Kobach, and Bob Hamilton formerly owned a plumbing business with no previous political experience. Marshall is the incumbent congressman from the 1st District and was my selection. He was also endorsed by Roberts as well as Bob Dole.
Over the past 60 years, three members of the 1st district – Dole, Roberts, and Jerry Moran – have gone on to serve in the Senate. Keith Sebelius, who served the 1st in the 1970s, elected to retire from public service, while Tim Huelskamp was “primaried” by Marshall after he lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee.
Marshall’s challenger in the November election is Barbara Bollier, a former State Senator who had crossed the floor from the GOP to the Democrats in 2018 in a critique of the direction of the State GOP.
I suspect that Bollier would definitely carry three of the “Big five” counties. Democrats are more prevalent in Douglas and Wyandotte Counties, and Bollier could carry positive name recognition in her home county of Johnson. The rural counties – especially the counties that make up the 1st District – will almost certainly carry Marshall. I think the difference will be made in Shawnee and Sedgwick Counties.
US House – 2nd District
Two years ago, a relatively unknown candidate by the name of Steve Watkins won the nomination to replace retiring Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. He wound up winning the race but has faced some controversy back at home. In the 2019 city races, he listed his address for voting purposes as his mail stop in a UPS Store in Topeka. He has since been criminally charged for misconduct relating to error and subsequent investigation.
I elected to go with someone with a little more political experience in the form of current State Treasurer Jake LaTurner. He will now go on to the General election where he will face current Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla.
Considering the legal cloud currently over Watkins’s head, I have to wonder if he may resign his seat early. Under K.S.A. 25-3503, if Watkins were to resign his seat now, the winner of the General Election will be deemed to have won an election to fill the remainder of Watkins’s term. I doubt the GOP will pressure Watkins to resign before the general election, as it’s by no means guaranteed that LaTurner wins the general.
De La Isla likely has the name recognition advantage in Shawnee County, and as noted above, Douglas County leans Democrat. The questions would be: how many voters are in the rural counties of the 2nd, and how heavily will they lean Republican..