August Primary Results Signal Big Changes
By Terry Humphrey, Executive Director
A number of conservative GOP legislators lost to their more moderate challengers in Tuesday’s primary election. While the results won’t be final for a few weeks, after all provisional ballots are counted, it appears to portend a significant shift in the makeup of the Legislature. The following incumbents were defeated:
- Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Nickerson, Senate majority leader, who was preparing to challenge Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, for her post
- Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood
- Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park
- Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona
- Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina
- Sen. Larry Powell, R-Garden City
In the House, 8 incumbents appear to be defeated:
- Rep. Jerry Lunn, R-Overland Park
- Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Shawnee
- Rep. Connie O’Brien, R-Tonganoxie
- Rep. Craig McPherson, R-Olathe
- Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee
- Rep. Rob Bruchman, R-Leawood
- Rep. Ben Scott, D-Topeka
- Rep. Will Carpenter, R-El Dorado
- Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, losing by only 55 votes. Provisional ballots may change the outcome of this race.
The Republican primary changes the balance of the GOP in the Senate— approximately 28 conservatives and 12 moderates. In the House, the moderate GOP picked up enough seats to form effective coalitions with Democrats and influence votes in the 2017 session. Going into the general election, 51 House members and 4 Senators are unopposed. This leaves 110 general election races to be decided on November 8.
The true balance of the Kansas Legislature won’t be known until after the general election and the new legislative leadership is chosen in December. What is known is that the issues that dominated the primary will likely dominate the general election and the 2017 legislative session: equalizing the tax burden, budget deficits, school funding, roads, and declining government resources and services.
Looking ahead, architects will have an opportunity to educate both new and returning lawmakers about the important role of architects in communities across the state. Stay tuned—and don’t forget to vote!