The filing deadline isn’t until June 1, but aggressive incumbent – and even more aggressive contenders – have already filed to run in an effort to get a solid footing for what will surely be a contentious primary and general election season.
The primary elections are set for Tuesday August 2.
During this election, Republicans and Democrats will whittle their list of prospective candidates down to the one candidate they feel best represents their interest. For Kansas Republicans, the primaries are often the big fight and the general elections are the cake walk. During the primaries, several Republicans often battle it out to move forward against a Democrat who has little chance to win in a heavily Republican district. So, Republicans get engaged early in the state’s political races and are off to a big start before the Democrats even get started.
Kansas Democrats, often lucky if they have even one candidate in the race, since they usually don’t have any competition in the primary. However this year, a few Democratic races may find several candidates fighting it out.
KS Rep. Ben Scott, who was selected last fall to fill a Topeka-based house seat vacated by Harold Lane, can expect some competition in his first election for the position.
Scott beat out KS Board of Education member and Democratic Party faithful Carolyn Campbell for the position in the vote of Democratic precinct representatives. Campbell says she plans to run for the position in the primary where she feels she has a good chance to prevail. Both Scott and Campbell have a long history of political and community activism in the Topeka area and this should prove to be a heated contest. Their challenge will be convicting district votes that there is enough difference between the two candidates. If they can’t, complacent electorate may just sit the primary out.
Another race that seems set for a highly contested primary is the race for Kansas House Seat 89 in Wichita. The district is currently represented by Rod Houston, who has indicated he will not seek re-election. The seat has a long history of being represented by African Americans. Past representatives from this district include Donald Betts and Oletha Faust-Goudeau, both of whom went on to win seats in the Kansas House.
So far no one has filed to run for the seat but several individuals have expressed an interested in running. Robert Tillman, a former candidate for United States Congress may run. Another rumored candidate is former school board member Kevass Harding. Like Houston, Harding is a full-time pastor, and may find living in Topeka during the session challenging to his role as a pastor. Also considering a run for the seat in K.C Ohabesim, who has run for office before on several occasions but never prevailed.
A couple of newcomers have already filed as candidates in some unexpected races. Monique Singh-Bey has filed to run for the U.S Senate seat currently occupied by Jerry Moran. Singh-Bey, a Wyandotte County resident, is running as part of a push by the Universal African Peoples Organization, a national organization that promotes the concept of proportionate representation, which encourage the percentage of elected officials to mirror the overall African-American population. Singh-Bey will have opposition in her primary race. Patrick Wiesner, a Johnson County tax and bankruptcy attorney, has also filed to run against incumbent Jerry Moran.
Nathaniel McLaughlin has filed a Democratic Candidate for the 3rd District Seat in the U.S Congress. McLaughlin, an active Democrat, was most recently the president of the Kansas State Organization of NAACP Branches. An experienced business executive, McLaughlin district manager for Sodexo Healthcare Services and oversees the company’s healthcare operations in sever Midwestern states.
McLaughlin will also have competition in his primary. Retired Lenexa electrician, Reginald Marselus, has also filed as a Democratic candidate for the seat. The 3rd Congressional Seat is currently held by Republican Kevin Yoder.
In what could be one of the most contentious Democratic primaries of the year, Kansas City native Attorney Mark Dupree has filed to fun against incumbent Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman. Dupree, definitely has the background and pedigree to give Gorman a race for his money in heavily Democratic Wyandotte County. Dupree, the son of a historic Kansas City Pastor, is himself a pastor as well as a partner in a private legal practice with his wife Shanelle. With both experience as a defense and prosecuting attorney, Dupree is definitely qualified for the position and with an impressive background and picturesque family, this primary race should prove interesting– if people of color show up to vote…
All of this and it’s just March. Like we said, this election year should prove to exciting.