Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Kansas Legislature Leadership Races Revisisted

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kansas Legislature Leadership Races Revisisted

Campaign season for leadership positions in the Kansas Legislature are in overdrive as members of the Kansas House and Kansas Senate will choose leadership for both chambers on December 5.

Much of the race for House Speaker remains unchanged. Reps. Russ Jennings, Ron Ryckman, and Jene Vickrey are seeking the House's top job. Reps. John Barker and Don Hineman are competing for Majority Leader.

Reps. Kyle Hoffman, Ron Highland, and Scott Schwab are running for Speaker Pro Tem.

Last week, Reps. Dan Hawkins, Willie Dove, and Tom Phillips were locked in a three-way race to be Assistant Majority Leader. However, Dove is now seeking the role of Caucus Chair against Susan Concannon, who was running unopposed. Meanwhile, Blake Carpenter, who was running unopposed for Majority Whip will face a challenge from Kent Thompson.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate it was widely assumed that Sen. Susan Wagle would walk right back into the Senate Presidency without much of a fight. Her main opposition for the gig--Sen. Terry Bruce--lost his primary back in August, and it appeared Wagle would be unopposed for President. 

That no longer looks quite so certain. Word on the street is that Sen. Ty Masterson may toss his hat into that ring. There is also wide speculation that Wagle may attempt to run for the seat Congressman Mike Pompeo is vacating in order to serve as Trump Administration intelligence director. If she decides to run for that seat, the special election would likely fall in the middle of the Kansas legislative session. Would she bow out of leadership to focus on currying favor with Fourth District Republican delegates?

If Wagle faces opposition for Senate leadership, the odds are in her favor, as she's had a major head start campaigning. She is very unlikely to earn the Republican nomination from the Fourth District delegates. The number of potential hats in that race continue to increase, and the delegates who will make the selection seem to be much more conservative than Wagle.

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