In the two weeks that have passed since the filing deadline for elected office in Kansas, the political landscape has shifted yet again. When the Legislature failed to pass constitutionally required redistricting maps, a panel of three U.S. district court judges was compelled to draw new Congressional, state Senate and state House district lines to account for the population shift since the last census. The maps drawn paired six of 40 incumbent Senators into districts with another incumbent and 48 incumbent Representatives were drawn together. The district court maps also created four open Senate seats and 25 open House seats–all of which needed candidates by the following Monday.
Over the course of that first weekend, 250 individuals filed to run for the Kansas House and Senate. One Senator opted to run for the House rather than against another Senator, and 16 current Representatives chose to run for the Senate. Eleven of those 16 are taking on sitting Senators rather than running in their newly drawn House districts. Not only does this make for an incredibly contentious Senate primary cycle, it also increased the number of open seats in the House to 43. Between incumbents that will be forced out of office because of races against other incumbents and open seats, the House could see upwards of 50 or more new representatives elected, which is unprecedented in Kansas. A turnover rate that approaches nearly 50 percent of the chamber (there are 125 members of the House) will have a profound effect on leadership races, committee chairs and assignments and the political culture of the body for years to come.
After evaluating the new district maps as well as candidates filed to run in each race, the board of the KMS political action committee, KaMPAC, met and made recommendations to contribute to 100 candidates during the primary cycle, including 12 with ties to the medical community. The 12 from the physician family include the following.
- Sen. Vicki Schmidt, spouse of Mike Schmidt, MD (Orthopedic Surgery–Topeka)
- Sen. Laura Kelly, spouse of Ted Daughety, MD (Pulmonology–Topeka)
- Sen. Roger Reitz, MD (Internal Medicine–Manhattan)
- Rep. Annie Tietze, spouse of Dennis Tietze, MD (Family Medicine–Topeka)
- Rep. Barbara Bollier, MD (Anesthesiology–Overland Park)
- Rep. Louis Ruiz, spouse of Marthel - Parsons Ruiz, MD (Psychiatry–Kansas City)
- Rep. Tom Phillips, spouse of Debra Doubek, MD (Family Medicine–Manhattan)
- Shanti Gandhi, MD (Cardiovascular Surgery–Topeka)
- Dan Heflin, spouse of J. Elizabeth Heflin, MD (Pediatrics–Wichita)
- Susan Concannon, spouse of Craig Concannon, MD (Internal Medicine–Beloit)
- John Edmonds, spouse of Marta Edmonds, MD (Pediatrics–Great Bend)
- Tom Simpson, MD (Family Medicine–Sterling)
We encourage your support of the above mentioned candidates with a financial contribution and your vote. The primary election on August 7 is just six weeks away, and for several seats where there isn't a general election opponent, it will determine the final outcome. Please vote in the primary election, and if you want an advance ballot, click here.