Cunningham “moves” into new House & Senate territory
Last week three federal judges accomplished what the Kansas Legislature could not and redrew the state’s voting districts as required due to population changes that have occurred over the past decade. Recognizing population shifts, the map removed a Kansas Senate district from a sparsely populated area and added one to the growing Johnson County area, and shifted boundaries in Senate and House districts across the state. In many cases, incumbents found themselves either “moved” out of their district or placed into a district with another incumbent.
Cunningham and Kingman County are now in a different district for both the House and the Senate and voters will see new names on the ballot for the August 7 primary election.
Once in the 116th House district, served for many years by Rep. Dennis McKinney and later by Pat Maloney and for the past two years by Kyle Hoffman, Cunningham is now part of the 114th district, which previously contained none of Kingman County and now contains the entire county plus the western part of Reno County and the southeast corner of Rice County, including Sterling but not Lyons. Part of Hutchinson is also included in the 114th. The 116th lost area in Kingman County and Kiowa County, but gained territory in Harper and Sumner counties.
By Monday morning’s filing deadline, candidates were scrambling and spots on the ballot were filled. According to the Kansas Secretary of State website, on the ballot for House District 114 are Carol Moore, Democrat, from Hutchinson. On the Republican side of the ballot are Bob Booth from Sterling, Tom Simpson from Sterling, and Jack Thimesch from Cunningham.
Kyle Hoffman, from Coldwater, will face Terry Nunemaker from Wellington in the primary for the Republican spot on the November ballot in House District 116. Vincent Wetta, a Democrat from Wellington, is also seeking re-election to the legislature from the new 116th.
To the west, Dennis McKinney, from Greensburg, has thrown his hat into the ring for the Democratic spot on the November ballot for the 117th District, which has no incumbent in the running. Three Republicans – John Ewy, Jetmore; Mitchell Rucker, Burdett; and John Unruh, from Haviland – are also seeking that spot in the 117th.
Another House race of local interest is in the 101st where incumbent Joe Seiwert, Republican from Pretty Prairie will face Jamie Blubaugh of Goddard and Mark Holick of Wichita in the August primary. No Democratic candidate filed for this house seat. The redistricting place Rep. Seiwert on the western edge of a once predominately rural district and added a rapidly growing area in Sedgwick County to the district.
Cunningham and Kingman County have been moved out of State Senator Ruth Teichman’s district, the 33rd. That Senate district will now include several counties west of Stafford, where Sen. Teichman lives and will not include counties along the state’s southern border. Teichman will face a challenge from Mitch Holmes of St. John in the primary for the Republican spot on the November ballot.
Kingman County has been split in half by the Senate redistricting map. The northern part of the county (north of 60th Street, locally known as the Sun City Road) will be in the 34th Senate District, while the southern half will be in the 32nd. Cunningham, Kingman, and Penalosa would be in the 34th District, which also includes all of Reno County. Nashville, Zenda, Spivey and Norwich in the 32nd, which includes all of Comanche, Barber, Harper, and Sumner counties and the southeast corner of Sedgwick and southwestern part of Cowley counties.
For the August primary, Steve Abrams of Arkansas City and Miranda Allen of Kiowa are on the Republican ballot for the 32nd Senate District seat. No Democratic candidate filed for either the 32nd or 34th Kansas Senate office. Republican candidates Mark Treaster of Pretty Prairie and Terry Bruce of Nickerson are vying to represent the 34th.
Cunningham and Kingman County remain in the 4th Congressional District, which now also includes Pratt, Barber, Comanche, Kiowa, Edwards, and Stafford counties – formerly in the 1st District. Mike Pompeo, a Wichita Republican, is the incumbent representative for the 4th District. Esau Freeman and Robert Tillman, both of Wichita, are on the August ballot seeking the Democratic spot on the November ballot to oppose Mr. Pompeo.
In addition to these national and state elections, voters in the August and November elections will make decisions on the township and county levels. In Kingman County on the Republican ballot, Commissioner Carol Voran will face Abe Erdman Jr. in the August primary, and Commissioner John Steffen is being challenged by Alan Albers to represent the area that includes Cunningham. With no Democratic candidates filing for county offices, the August primary could decide these races, barring a successful write-in campaign.
According to information on the Kansas Secretary of State website, “Kansas elections are conducted by the counties with oversight by the Secretary of State’s office. Voter registration application forms must be submitted to the county election officer where the applicant lives. You may also register to vote or change your registration information online with a valid Kansas driver’s license. The deadline to register to vote is the twenty-first day before any election.” In the Cunningham area, the county election officer is the County Clerk. The deadline to register to vote for the August 7, 2012 primary is July 17.