Former Salina Mayor to announce congressional run

Capitol BuildingIt appears the massive 1st Congressional District is about to get its first Democratic candidate. Alan Jilka, the former mayor of Salina, plans to announce a run for the seat at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Salina city-county building.

The press release only says Jilka will “announce plans to seek national political office.” But a peek at http://jilkaforcongress.com kind of gives it away.

Jilka, 46, spent 12 years on the Salina City Commission. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for State Senate in 2004. Incumbent Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, beat him with about 59 percent of the turnout. (View Jilka’s 2004 campaign finance reports.)

No other Democrats have stepped into the heavily Republican race (fill us in if we’ve missed someone). Here’s the GOP field (as we know it today): Sens. Jim Barnett of Emporia and Tim Huelskamp of Fowler; Tracey Mann, a commercial real estate agent from Salina; Rob Wasinger of Cottonwood Falls, former chief of staff to Brownback; Hays educator Sue Boldra; and former Salina Mayor Monte Shadwick.