Kansas Legislative Insights Newsletter | November 9, 2022
November 9, 2022
New Statewide Officers Elected
The races for governor and attorney general generated the most drama on election night. After one of most expensive gubernatorial campaigns in Kansas history, Governor Laura Kelly narrowly defeated Attorney General Derek Schmidt by a 48-47% margin in the unofficial results. The governor’s race continued to tighten throughout the night as western Kansas votes were tallied with the final margin of approximately 14,000 votes for Gov. Kelly. State Senator Dennis Pyle played spoiler after switching from Republican to Independent to seek the governorship as an independent. Sen. Pyle received two percent of the ballots cast, or 19,700 votes. Libertarian Seth Cordell received 10,600 votes.
Kris Kobach and Chris Mann battled all evening to succeed Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Mann held a lead much of the evening. As the votes from western Kansas were counted, Kris Kobach pulled ahead and has apparently won 51 to 49%. Secretary of State Scott Schwab was comfortably re-elected with nearly 60% of the votes. Incumbent State Treasurer Lynn Rogers (D-Wichita) was defeated by State Representative Steven Johnson 54% to 41%. The Libertarian candidate received 5% of the vote. State Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt received the highest number of votes in the statewide races with 63%.
All of the results are unofficial. Under Kansas law, mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 8 will be counted if they arrive within three days. Friday is Veteran’s Day, which is a federal holiday with no mail service. Mail ballots arriving by next Monday will be counted. Potentially, mail ballots and provisional ballots could impact several of the close races.
There were two constitutional questions on the ballot. The election and recall of sheriffs passed with 62% of the vote. The constitutional question on legislative oversight of rules and regulations was narrowly defeated by 6,000 votes (50-50%). While unlikely, it will be interesting to see if there are enough mail and provisional ballots next Monday to impact the rules and regulations constitutional question.
All of the members of the Kansas Supreme Court have been retained. Our best information is that all members of the Kansas Court of Appeals and District Court judges on the Nov. 8 ballot have been retained as well.
Congressional Delegation Re-elected
US Senator Jerry Moran easily defeated Democratic challenger Ron Holland with 60% of the votes cast. In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Tracy Mann (R-Salina) received more than 68% of the vote. In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Jake LaTurner was re-elected after defeating Democrat Patrick Schmidt with 54% of the vote. Rep. Ron Estes (R-Wichita) will return to Congress after winning re-election with 64% of the vote.
The most-watched race was in Congressional District 3 around Kansas City. The Legislature reapportioned the Congressional District 3 map to make it more favorable for Republicans. Democrat incumbent Rep. Sharice Davids faced Republican Amanda Adkins for the second time. Rep. Davids prevailed with 55% of the vote.
Kansas Legislature Update
There was less drama in the Kansas House of Representatives, with 65 of the 125 members not facing an opponent from a major party. The goal of Kansas Democrats was to gain at least three seats to break the Republican supermajority in the House of Representatives. It takes 84 votes to override a governor’s veto. Currently, the Kansas House has 86 Republicans. In Johnson County, Democrats won three Republican districts. However, they were unable to defend two Democratic seats elsewhere, resulting in an 85-40 Republican margin. While the results are unofficial, it appears the Republican supermajority will continue in the House.
After the death of Sen. Bud Estes in 2021, former House member Ron Ryckman, Sr., was selected by local Republican officials to serve the 38th Senatorial District. State law required him to stand for election in the next general election. Sen. Ryckman received more than 60% of the vote.
Kansas Legislative Insights is a publication developed by the Governmental Affairs & Public Policy Law practice group of Foulston Siefkin LLP. It is designed to inform business executives, human resources and governmental relations professionals, and general counsel about current developments occurring in current Kansas legislation. Published regularly during the Kansas legislative session, it focuses on issues involving Healthcare, Insurance, public finance, Taxation, financial institutions, business & economic development, Energy, Real Estate & Construction, environmental, Agribusiness, employment, and workers compensation. Bill summaries are by necessity brief, however, for additional information on any issue before the Kansas Legislature, contact Foulston Siefkin’s Governmental Affairs & Public Policy Law practice group leader, James P. Rankin at 785.233.3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the authors below:
James (Jim) P. Rankin
As a partner at Foulston Siefkin, Jim’s practice focuses on employee benefits law relating to public, private, governmental, and tax-exempt organizations. A large part of his work involves Insurance Regulatory and compliance issues in many industries, including Healthcare. Jim has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® and the Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® list. He is the firm's representative with State Law Resources, Inc., a national network of independent law firms selected for their expertise in administrative, regulatory, and governmental relations at the state and federal level.
Gary L. Robbins
Gary, a governmental affairs consultant to Foulston Siefkin’s Governmental Affairs & Public Policy practice group, provides legislative monitoring and lobbying services for Foulston’s governmental relations clients. He holds a bachelor of science degree in history and political science from Southwestern College and a master’s degree in labor economics from Wichita State University. Throughout his extensive career, Gary has served as CLE Director to the Kansas Bar Association and as Executive Director of the Kansas Optometric Association.
Eric L. Sexton, PhD
Eric, a governmental affairs consultant to Foulston Siefkin’s Governmental Affairs & Public Policy practice group, has nearly 30 years’ experience providing strategic direction and governmental relations services. As Wichita State University’s governmental relations leader for 18 years, Eric developed lasting relationships at the local, state, and federal Government level around Kansas. Eric holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Kansas and a masters in public administration from Wichita State University, complementing his undergraduate business degree from Wichita State.
C. Edward Watson, II
As a partner at Foulston Siefkin, Eddie represents clients in matters before state regulatory commissions, courts, and local governmental bodies. He has built and maintained relationships with key individuals – including lobbyists, elected and appointed officials, and staff members – that prove valuable in advancing clients’ interests and issues. Drawing on his experience as a regional governmental affairs attorney for AT&T in Chicago, he helps clients navigate the maze of federal policies and agencies, advises on how processes work in Washington, and provides introductions to those who can help them accomplish their goals.
This update has been prepared by Foulston Siefkin LLP for informational purposes only. It is not a legal opinion; it does not provide legal advice for any purpose; and it neither creates nor constitutes evidence of an attorney-client relationship.