Note: Wichitopekington will be updating regularly through the morning as races take shape for south-central Kansas political offices
The filing period is now officially over.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach banged a gavel at noon, although candidates inside the building were allowed to complete their forms.
Kobach said at least five incumbents and senatorial challenger Gary Mason moved their addresses over the weekend to get into districts where they wanted to run.
Mason moved from Wichita into the Park City area to challenge Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, in the 31st District.
Kobach said that despite the abbreviated filing period since the maps were released at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the number of candidates was about average with 250 running for the House and 100 running for the Senate. Ten are running for the state’s four congressional seats.
Wichita City Councilman Michael O’Donnell is running for Senate.
O’Donnell will challenge Sen. Jean Schodorf in the 25th District.
Schodorf is a moderate; O’Donnell is a conservative, setting up a high-contrast Republican primary.
Perry Schuckman, executive director of the Kansas Nonprofit Chamber of Service, filed today to run as a Democrat.
A familiar Democrat will be seeking a return to the House in the 95th District.
Former Rep. Tom Sawyer has filed to run in the district representing the Delano and Friends University areas.
Sawyer is a longtime representative and former Democratic House leader who resigned to join the state Parole Board.
He was knocked out of that job last year when Gov. Sam Brownback abolished the board and put parole functions under a Department of Corrections committee.
Sawyer said he decided to run again after watching the contentious session this year, where conservative-vs-moderate gridlock caused legislators to fail to redistrict the state and forced a federal court panel to draw new political boundaries.
“I think we need someone in Topeka who can solve problems again,” Sawyer said. “It was pretty frustrating from a distance seeing what was not getting done in Topeka.”
Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, has abandoned her effort to challenge moderate Republican Sen. Jean Schodorf and instead will seek re-election to the House.
Redistricting drew Landwehr out of Schodorf’s 25th District and into Democratic Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau’s heavily Democratic 29th District.
If she survives any potential primary, Landwehr will run against Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita.
The new 92nd District is about 56 percent Dillmore’s former district and 44 percent of Landwehr’s
Landwehr said “it’s a little tough” to retool for the House run after spending the last few months running for Senate.
She had considered swapping homes with her son to get back into the 25th District, but decided “I like where I live.”
But she said she thinks the remapping will be good for Kansas because it’s bringing new people, ideas and philosophies into the process.
Democrats will have to choose between two of their best-known state representatives in the south-central Wichita 86th House District.
Rep. Jim Ward has just filed, setting up a showdown with his fellow Democrat and longtime legislative ally Rep. Judith Loganbill.
Ward said he considered a run for the Senate but “In the end, this was the best fit.”
Although he got drawn into an incumbent-vs-incumbent matchup, Ward said he’s doesn’t begrudge the court judges, who drew the district.
“They did what they had to do,” he said. “And we have to pick up the pieces.”
And he said he’s excited by the interest in running that the new legislative districts has sparked.
Looking over the crowd of registrants, Ward said “You’ve got all these people saying ‘I can make a difference. I can run for public office.’ I think it’s a validation of public office.”
Republican voters in the Goddard area will have to choose between two familiar faces to fill their Senate seat.
Rep. Dan Kerschen has just filed to challenge incumbent Sen. Dick Kelsey in the 26th Senate District.
Kerschen saw his House district shredded in the court-ordered reapportionment, putting him on a collision course with Rep. Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie.
Kerschen said the new district contained too much of what would have been unfamiliar political ground for him.
“I lost my district,” he said. “The only way I can keep representing the constituents I’ve been representing … is to represent them in the Senate, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
After an initial burst of activity, things are beginning to slow down a bit, although traffic through the filing station remains steady.
Rep. TeriLois Gregory, who lived in Baldwin City for the last election, moved to Ottawa Friday and filed to keep her seat in the 10th District.
Gregory was one of the representatives whose redrawn district would have had more than one incumbent running against each other — in her case, she’d have had to face Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora.
The new Ottawa-based district is an open seat and contains part of Gregory’s old district.
“Ottawa’s a great town,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
8:30 a.m. TOPEKA — Dozens of state officials and hopefuls are now lined up at the secretary of state’s office beating the deadline to run for state offices.
The political scramble was touched off by a court decision setting boundaries for House, Senate, state school board and congressional districts.
The new district maps were handed down late Thursday night, moving many incumbents and challengers out of districts where they had already filed and leaving only 1 1/2 days to retool.
A steady line of filers have passed through about 10 stations set up here in the lobby of the secretary of state’s office.
One of the first people through was Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, who had already filed for re-election but refiled today just to avoid any possible confusion.
She said some of the filing process seemed ambiguous as to whether candidates who had already filed had to do it again, and with the current lack of trust endemic to Topeka political culture, she wanted to make absolutely certain her name was on the ballot.
“So I got up at 4 in the morning and left at 5 and had a beautiful drive through the Flint Hills.”