Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Worst kept secret in Johnson County

Friday, October 26, 2012

Worst kept secret in Johnson County

About 20 precinct people in one Kansas House district will select the next representative for a large swath of Johnson County. One candidate for the House will drop out shortly after winning the election on Nov. 6 and a handful of candidates are already wooing precinct people for a chance at the seat. The Republican candidate on the ballot is a shoe-in, and when he resigns, precinct people will pick his replacement.

I really, really want to mention names, because I gasped when I heard the name of one of the hopefuls for the soon-to-be abandoned seat, but it seems well, unseemly, mentioning all of this when the general election hasn't yet happened.

To date, three people have announced their intention to be appointed into the seat. One candidate is a retired and well-liked legislator. (If I were creating Vegas odds, I'd give this person the edge.) A second candidate is the 20-something niece or daughter (somehow related) of well-known conservative activists. (Rumor has it she plans to drop out, but I don't know if that's happened yet.) A third candidate is a budding attorney who worked briefly for Rep. Kevin Yoder in the local office. And there may be a fourth candidate. He's on the ballot in another race, and if he loses, he has told people he will seek the soon-to-be vacant House seat.

Don't get me started on why someone -- the candidate currently on the ballot -- would rush to Topeka on the filing deadline to run for the seat, quasi forcing other interested parties from it and then, before the general election announce his intention to resign once elected.

If I lived in that district, I'd be raving mad.

I'm not sure how this all will shake out. Procedurally, there are some questions. For example, there are several empty precinct positions in the district. (I've heard this representative will be selected by fewer than 20 people.)  Speaking of those empty seats, Ronnie Metsker, county chair, is tasked with filling them. Could he pack the spot to ensure that his favorite candidate gets the legislative seat?

Will the Metsker still be the chair when the precinct election occurs? There's a possibility that a new chair could be in place by that time.

Does the current candidate have to be sworn-in before resigning? That happens, I think, in January, but the newly-electeds will choose House and party leadership before then. Whoever lands in that seat could influence who serves as Speaker of the House.

I'll name names after the polls close.  It's about to get interesting. 


  1. So you're saying it's a he...

  2. Rep. Montgomery does not need to be sworn in, no. Remember Garrett Love never served in House and actually, in 2006, Rep. O'Malley resigned after he "won" but before being sworn in, that's how Ronnie got in the House. And no, the "niece" isn't running.